Two accidental fires over weekend cause extensive damage and displace residents
After a large apartment fire on Friday displaced 56 adults, Loudoun firefighters responded to two more fires on the weekend, which resulted in approximately $500,000 in damages and an additional 13 residents displaced.
The first incident occurred just before 10:45 a.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021. Fire and rescue units from Sterling, Ashburn, Fairfax County, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority–Dulles, and multiple command officers were dispatched to the 23000 block of Blackthorn Square in Sterling for a structure fire. Personnel arrived to find a three-story townhome with fire showing from the third floor of the residence. Firefighters quickly made entry and used hoselines to extinguish the fire, which had rapidly extended to the attic. Additional crews searched neighboring homes for extension.
Fortunately, due to the quick extinguishment of the fire, the two adjoining townhomes had some minor smoke damage but were able to be reoccupied after the incident. There were no reported injuries to residents or firefighters; however, six residents were displaced and are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross. The fire has been classified as accidental due to improperly discarded smoking materials in a third-floor bedroom. Damages are estimated at $260,000, which includes $40,000 to the neighboring townhomes.
Fires caused by improperly discarded smoking materials are preventable by following a few simple tips:
- If you smoke, do so outside.
- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray that will not tip over. Be sure to clean out ashtrays often.
- Place cigarettes in proper containers such as metal or ceramic pots filled with sand, not mulch or potting soil.
- Place containers away from the house. Never place containers on porches, decks, or just outside the door.
- Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Hot ashes can smolder for days.
As fire and rescue units were being released from the incident on Blackthorn Square, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center began receiving calls for a second house fire. At 11:25 a.m., fire and rescue units from Moorefield, Brambleton, Dulles South, Kirkpatrick Farms, Ashburn, Kincora, and multiple command staff officers responded to the 22000 block of Emerald Chase Place in Ashburn for reports of a vehicle on fire inside a garage.
Firefighters quickly attacked the fire in the garage from the exterior using handlines before entering the home. Once inside, crews located and extinguished the remaining fire that had extended into the space above the garage. The bulk of the fire damage was contained to the garage; however, there was smoke damage throughout the home. No residents or firefighters were injured. Five adults and two children have been displaced and will be staying with friends and family. The fire has been classified as accidental due to a malfunction within an electric passenger vehicle. Smoke alarms in the home activated as designed. Damages were estimated at $235,000 which includes $85,000 in damages to vehicles.