Fireplace Ashes Cause Apartment Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 14-25
Date:  March 04, 2014

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to an apartment fire, Sunday, March 2, 2014, at approximately 1:30 p.m., in the Herndon area of Fairfax County. The apartment is located at 2557 Farmcrest Drive.

Firefighters encountered smoke coming from the second floor of the apartment building upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack and brought the fire under control in less than 10 minutes. The fire was discovered by a smoke alarm activating from the apartment above. The occupant was not at home when the fire broke out. One adult has been displaced and is being assisted by Red Cross. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $20,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. Fireplace ashes in a plastic container and too close to combustibles 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.
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

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