Accidental Townhouse Chimney 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 13-26
Date:  March 15, 2013

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire, Thursday, March 14, 2013, at approximately 8 p.m. in the Reston area of Fairfax County. The single family home is located at 11977 Greywing Court.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the front of the middle three-story townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive interior fire attack and brought the fire under control in approximately 10 minutes. No one was home when the fire broke out. The fire was contained to the single townhouse. One adult male has been displaced. Red Cross support was offered but declined by the occupant. Smoke alarms were present; however, were non-working. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $125,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. A gas leak within the gas operated chimney ignited by the pilot light caused the fire.


Fireplace Safety Tips

  • Ensure that your chimney is cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional once a year.
  • A spark arrestor across the top of a chimney will prevent sparks from igniting your roof.
  • Use the proper fuel (seasoned hardwood, pellets, and gas/propane) for your type of system. Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Fireplaces should have a sturdy screen across the front to prevent embers from flying or logs from rolling out.
  • When clearing ashes from the fireplace, be sure to put them into a metal container with a lid—never into a cardboard box or paper bag.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.  Many “non-masonry” fireplace/chimney units have limitations on the amount of heat they can safely withstand.


For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger, 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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