Fairfax Station fire blamed on fireplace ashes

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Fireplace ashes left smoldering on the back deck are being blamed for a house fire that caused more than $125,000 damage in Fairfax Station Sunday morning (Dec. 31).

Fire units were dispatched about 6:06 a.m. for a reported house fire in the 6100 block of Housatonic Court in the Fairfax Station section of Fairfax County.

Units arrived to find a two-story, split-level home and observed fire coming from the first floor and rear deck and extending to the roof. Crews quickly extinguished the bulk of fire from the outside and then entered the home to extinguish the remaining fire.

Several people driving by called 9-1-1. One of the home’s four occupants discovered the fire on the exterior of the home. They all evacuated prior to the smoke alarms sounding and arrival of fire department.

Two adults and two children were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and declined. One adult male received a minor injury to his foot while escaping the fire. He declined treatment and transport. There were no other reported injuries to civilians or firefighters.

Safety tips

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department would like to remind all residents to be cautious and keep safety in mind when handling fireplace ashes. Following a few simple safety tips can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • Do not discard your ashes into any combustible container such as a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
  • Do not place ash containers on decks, porches, or in garages.
  • Put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
  • Pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
  • Keep your can OUTSIDE the home, away from your fireplace or stove and anything combustible.
  • Teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.