Extension Cord Causes Townhouse Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 12-101
Date:  December 5, 2012

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. An overloaded extension cord 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.

Merrifield Townhouse Fire Displaces Nine

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire, Tuesday, December 4, 2012, at approximately 6:10 p.m., in the Merrifield area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 3070 Southern Elm Court.

Firefighters encountered smoke and fire coming from the basement of the two-story end unit townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive interior fire attack and quickly brought the fire under control. Smoke alarms sounded and provided early warning for occupants. Nine occupants have been displaced, seven adults and two children. One adult was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Red Cross is providing support.

Damage is estimated at $40,000.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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.
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Fairfax, VA 22030

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