Fire Caused By Smoking Materials Destroys Herndon Townhouse

Investigators say an accidental fire caused by improperly discarded smoking materials destroyed a Herndon townhouse Friday night.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units arriving at the home at 2542 Peter Jefferson Lane, in the McNair Farms West subdivision at 11:55 PM found heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear and extending up the eaves to the roof area of the three-story end unit townhouse.

The Incident Commander struck a second alarm bringing approximately 60 firefighters to the incident scene. Firefighters conducted an interior and exterior fire attack and brought the fire under control in approximately 15 minutes.

Despite knocking the fire down quickly, fire had already spread to the roof and attic of an adjacent townhouse, causing an estimated $40,000 damage.

All the occupants escaped prior to firefighters arriving on scene. Both townhouses are uninhabitable. Two adults and two children from each of the units have been displaced and the Red Cross is assisting both families. There were no injuries.

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.