Loudoun Fire-Rescue crews this morning were called to a condo in Ashburn’s Goose Creek Village neighborhood where carelessly discarded smoking material caused a balcony fire.
The alarm was sounded just before 6:30 a.m. and units from Lansdowne, Leesburg, Ashburn, Moorefield, Sterling, Brambleton. and Dulles South responded to the Wardlaw Terrace residence.
The crews found smoke coming from a third-floor balcony of the four-story building. The residents were evacuated from the condo and the fire was quickly extinguished. The building’s exterior was covered with a cement fiber siding, which is non-combustible and does not melt—limiting the fire’s spread.
The Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was accidental, caused by improperly discarded smoking materials on the balcony. The smoke alarm in the home where the fire occurred did not activate because the battery had been removed.
Damage was estimated at $5,000, with minor water damage to homes below.
Fire officials said the incident highlighted two important safety messages.
First, always ensure smoke alarms are properly functioning. It is recommended to have at least one on each floor and one outside each sleeping area. The alarms should be kept clean, tested monthly and replaced after 10 years from manufacture date.
Secondly, be sure to extinguish cigarettes in proper containers such as metal or ceramic pots filled with sand. Place these containers away from the house, not on the front porch, deck or just outside the door. Disposing of smoking materials in potted plants, mulch beds or near other flammable materials can quickly cause a fire that may spread to nearby structures.