Smoke Alarm Provides Early Warning in Clifton Townhouse Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 13-70
Date:  July, 11, 2013

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire, Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at approximately 6:30 a.m., in the Clifton area of Fairfax County. The single family home is located at 13677 Wildflower Lane.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the front basement windows of the two-story, middle unit townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive interior fire attack, quickly bringing the fire under control. Firefighters kept the fire in check, not allowing the fire to spread to adjacent units. There was extensive damage to the basement and some smoke damage to the upper floors. A sounding smoke alarm provided early warning to the occupants, all escaping unharmed. Two adults and two children have been displaced. Red Cross support was declined by the occupants. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $25,000.

According to fire investigators, the fire was accidental. An electrical outlet in the basement laundry 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.
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Fairfax, VA 22030

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