Centreville garden apartment fire blamed on smoking

Fire investigators say someone who improperly disposed of smoking materials on the balcony of an apartment is responsible a three-alarm fire that forced more than 100 people from their apartments in Centreville.

The blaze destroyed much of the Forest Glen Apartments, a senior living garden apartment complex in the 14400 block of Windmere Court. The first units to arrive reported fire in a third floor apartment, extending up to the fourth floor and the attic. Before the blaze could be brought under control it extended to two rows of buildings and part of the structure collapsed.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and started on a third floor balcony. The fire was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials.

Four people were hurt and were taken to the hospital. Three other people were treated for minor injuries at the scene. Seventy-five apartment units were evacuated leaving about 125 people without a place to live. The victims have also lost most of their possessions. The displaced residents are being assisted by the Red Cross as well as the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management. Damages as a result of the fire are estimated to be $10,128,475.

How to help the victims

Fairfax County is working with Volunteer Fairfax and other nonprofit partners to assist residents who were affected by the fires in Centreville on Wednesday. There are various needs; many residents have lost everything.

If you are interested in helping, organizers are asking for donations of gift cards that can be used for food, clothes, household items, etc. Consider generic gift cards valid at local stores. Any denomination is appreciated.

Please call Volunteer Fairfax at 703-246-3460 or email volsrus@volunteerfairfax.org to coordinate your gift. If after hours, leave a message and staff from Volunteer Fairfax will return your message to coordinate your donation.

For persons impacted by the Centreville fires, you may contact the county’s Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880.

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About the Author

Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.