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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): 703-280-0694
Media Information Line: 703-324-3000

News Release 09-33
Date: April 8, 2009

Vienna Fire Victim Identified

Frances Kelley, 81, 911 Potterton Circle, has been identified as the victim of today's house fire.  The cause of death was smoke inhalation.

According to fire investigators, the cause of the fire was accidental.  An electrical anomaly in the kitchen ceiling caused the fire.

This is the fourth fire fatality for 2009.

Fatal Vienna House Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire Wednesday, April 8, 2009, at approximately 12:50 a.m., in the Town of Vienna. The single-family home is located in the 900 block of Potterton Circle.

Firefighters encountered heavy fire and smoke coming from the rear and roof of the rambler-style home upon arrival. A second alarm was immediately struck, bringing over 60 firefighters to the scene. Firefighters quickly performed a primary search and found a deceased older woman inside the home. Firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 15 minutes. There was no one else home when the fire broke out. There were no audible smoke alarms in the home when firefighters arrived.

The name of the victim will not be released until next-of-kin has been notified. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Damage is estimated at $150,000.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by fire investigators and the Vienna Police.

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 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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Last Modified: Wednesday, April 08, 2009