Smoking Materials Cause Alexandria Area Townhouse Fire

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 13-96
Date:  September 11, 2013

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a townhouse fire, Wednesday, September 11, 2013, at approximately 1:15 a.m., in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. The single family townhouse is located at 5254 Cozy Glen Lane.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the three-story townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive exterior and interior fire attack and brought the fire under control in approximately 20 minutes. The fire originated on the ground floor deck and extended up and into the attic area.

Two adults and two children awoke upon hearing and seeing the fire burning on the outside of the home and escaped unharmed. Smoke alarms sounded as the fire was burning from the outside to the inside of the home, as the occupants were exiting the burning home. The family has been displaced. Red Cross is assisting the family. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $150,000.

The cause of the accidental fire was improperly discarded smoking materials.

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
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services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.
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Fairfax, VA 22030

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