Heater Causes Mount Vernon Fire
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
News Release 13-127
Date: November 18, 2013
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire, Friday, November 15, 2013, at approximately 8:40 a.m., in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County. The single family home is located at 7922 Grimsley Street, Alexandria.
Firefighters encountered smoke and fire coming from the basement of the two-story home upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack and brought the fire under control in approximately 15 minutes. A sounding smoke alarm alerted the occupants to the fire allowing them to escape unharmed. Two adults and an infant have been displaced and will receive support from the Red Cross. A cat perished in the fire. There were no other injuries.
Damage is estimated at $200,000.
According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. A portable heater placed too close to a chair in the basement caused the fire.
Alternate Heating Source Safety Tips
The fall and winter are upon us. This causes many of us to seek out alternative sources to heat our home and keep warm. Alternate heating sources are a major contributing factor in residential fires. The following safety tips will help you keep a safe home.
- Keep at least three feet of clearance between your alternate heat source and anything combustible.
- Do not keep or store combustible materials in closed areas or near a heat source.
- Never leave a heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep, and never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources.
- If you use an electric heater, be careful not to overload the electrical circuit.
- Avoid using electrical heaters in bathrooms as they may come in contact with water.
- Only use heaters that have been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features, such as automatic shut-offs. It is important to install and use heaters according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Do not use a range or oven as an alternate heating source. This is a safety hazard and may be a source of toxic fumes.
- Do not use fuel burning appliances without the proper room ventilation.
- Never fill a kerosene heater while it is in operation or hot. Avoid overfilling.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger,
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711.
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs,
services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.
4100 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030