Smoke Alarm Allows Occupants to Escape House Fire


Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
fire-rescue.PA-LSE@fairfaxcounty.gov

News Release 13-21
Date:  February 19, 2013

Fairfax County Fire and rescue Department units responded to house fire, Saturday, February 16, 2013, at approximately 7:50 a.m., in the Town of Herndon. The single family home is located at 1400 Cuttermill Court.

Firefighters encountered heavy black smoke and flames coming from the basement and rear of the two-story home upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack from the rear of the home while simultaneously performing a primary search of the home. Despite the fire burning through the first floor, firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 10 minutes. Firefighters conducted extensive overhaul and salvage operations in the basement area. Sounding smoke alarms provided early warning for the three occupants and two pets who escaped unharmed, however, one cat was transported to a local veterinarian. Two adults, a youth, and the pets have been displaced. Red Cross is assisting the occupants.

Damage is estimated at $100,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. An unidentified electrical source in the basement ceiling caused the fire.


Electrical Safety Tips


  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If your power goes out a lot or the lights in your home flicker, smell bad, or make noise, have an electrician come in to inspect your wiring.   
  • The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).  This is a tool that protects you from dangerous shock when water and electricity come together.  An electrician can install a GFCI for you.
  • All electrical outlets and switches should be covered by “face plates.”
  • When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Inspect electrical cords to make sure they are in good condition.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Don’t tie or knot electrical cords.
  • Don’t let furniture sit on electrical cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.


For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I William Moreland, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. 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.
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