Smoking Materials Cause Herndon 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 14-77
Date:  August 11, 2014

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire Sunday, August 10, 2014, at approximately 7:05 p.m., in the Herndon area of Fairfax County. The single-family townhouse is located in the McNair Farms community, in 2400 block of Wheat Meadow Circle.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from two floors of the three-level, middle of the row townhouse upon arrival. The Incident Commander quickly called a second alarm, bringing more than 60 firefighters to the scene. Despite firefighters conducting an aggressive fire attack, the fire had spread to several adjacent townhomes. It took firefighters approximately 45 minutes to bring the fire under control. Occupants from several townhomes all escaped unharmed. Firefighters also conducted extensive overhaul and salvage operations. Two of the townhomes were a total loss, and four others received minor damage. Nine occupants have been displaced. Red Cross is assisting all of the displaced. There were no injuries.

Damage estimate for all six townhomes is estimated at $900,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. Improperly discarded smoking materials caused the fire.


Discarded Smoking Materials Safety Tips


  • Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away as they can smolder and cause a fire.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays with a center support for smokers. Check furniture for any dropped ashes before going to bed. Empty ashes into a fireproof container with water and sand.
  • Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
  • If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires. 
  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach.


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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