Centreville Townhouse Fire, Woman Rescued

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 12-45
Date:  June 25, 2012

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire, Friday, June 22, 2012, at approximately 3:55 p.m. in the Centreville area of Fairfax County. The single-family home is located at 120 Hoskins Hollow Circle.

An off-duty Fairfax County fire officer reported the fire after seeing a heavy column of smoke from a distance, and upon further investigation saw fire and heavy smoke coming from the rear of a quad style structure, consisting of four two-story townhouses. After reporting the fire on his portable radio to the 911 call center, he donned his personal protective gear when several neighbors indicated that a woman was still inside the townhouse. He entered the smoke-filled townhouse and found two individuals assisting a disabled older adult into a wheelchair. He assisted with placing the woman in the wheelchair and safely led everyone out of the townhouse. 

Firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes. There was fire damage to several other townhouses, causing eight adults and one child to be displaced.  Red Cross assistance was not necessary. Two adults were transported for non-life threatening injuries to INOVA Fairfax Hospital, including the elderly woman.

Damage is estimated at $160,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. The fire started from the outside in a mulch bed when an unidentified passerby improperly discarded smoking materials into the mulch near the structure.

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 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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