West Springfield Apartment Fire Caused By Unattended Cooking On Stove

News release from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

On Thursday, July 25 at approximately 10:51 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported garden apartment fire in the 5800 block of Royal Ridge Drive in the West Springfield area of Fairfax County.

Units arrived on scene of a three-story, garden apartment building with smoke showing from the rear and one occupant trapped on a third-floor balcony. Crews quickly placed a ladder to the balcony and climbed up to occupant. Due to the significant steep grade, the occupant was protected in place until such conditions allowed for an internal evacuation through the unit and down the stairwell. There were no firefighter injuries reported. One occupant was transported to an area hospital for a check-up.

Two occupants were home at the time of the fire. The fire was discovered by an occupant prior to the smoke alarm sounding. One occupant self-evacuated prior to fire department arrival. The second occupant evacuated to the balcony

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the kitchen. The fire was caused by an unattended cooking pot on the stove.

No one was displaced because of the fire. Red Cross services were not needed. Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $6,250.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would also like to remind all residents about cooking safely. Please remember to “Watch What You Heat!

Kitchen Safety Tips

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.
  • Keep things that can catch fire such as dish towels, curtains, or paper, at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward, facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Pot holders or oven mitts prevent burns when handling hot dishes.
  • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  • If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.