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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 09-87
Date: November 30, 2009

Clifton House Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire on Saturday, November 28, 2009, at approximately 3 p.m. in the Clifton area of Fairfax County. The home is located at 13925 South Springs Drive.

Firefighters arrived on scene and encountered heavy smoke inside the entire home. Firefighters quickly determined the fire had self-extinguished, and then conducted a primary search of the single-family, brick, two-story home. During the search, they encountered dozens of deceased cats and two cages of deceased birds. Firefighters provided ventilation to the home. The homeowners were not at home when the fire broke out. A pet sitter and animal rescuer opened the home's front door at shortly before 3 p.m. to check on the animals and immediately called 911 for help after seeing smoke. Firefighters found evidence of fire extension to the first and second floor. The two adults have been displaced.

Firefighters and Fairfax County Police Animal Control Officers were able to rescue and revive 10 cats from the home. A total of 69 cats and seven birds perished in the fire. Five cats remain missing. Red Cross support was not needed.

Damage is estimated at $75,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. An electrical event involving wiring under a sectional sofa in the first floor family room 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 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

Last Modified: Monday, August 29, 2011

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