Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Blamed in Brambleton Townhouse Fire

A family of five and their dog were displaced after a Saturday night townhouse fire in Brambleton.

At 11:49 p.m., May 25, the Loudoun County dispatchers received a 911 call reporting fire in a home on Beckett Terrace in Ashburn. Fire and rescue crews from Brambleton, Moorfield, Dulles South, Ashburn, Lansdowne, and Leesburg responded and found a three-story townhome with a significant amount of fire and smoke coming from the third floor and roof. Firefighters confirmed that the residents had safely evacuated the home and fought the fire from the exterior before entering the home to extinguish the remaining fire. Additional crews were called from Sterling, Kincora, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority-Dulles. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from extending into the neighboring attached residence.

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office investigation revealed that the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials on a third-floor balcony. The smoldering smoking materials ignited. The fire extended up the vinyl siding on the porch into the attic and spread quickly across the roof. The house was equipped with working smoke alarms but, because the fire started on the balcony, they did not activate prior to evacuation. The occupants were alerted to the fire by a passerby and were able to safely escape.The family was assisted by the American Red Cross.

The fire occurred on the 11thanniversary of the Meadowood fire in Leesburg that also was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials and resulted in severe injuries to four firefighters. Improperly discarded smoking materials continue to be the cause of many fires across Loudoun County.

According to Loudoun Fire-Rescue, such fires have not only resulted in millions of dollars in damages and needlessly endanger residents and fire and rescue personnelTo prevent these types of fires, the department issued these safety tips:

  • dispose of smoking materials only in metal or ceramic containers filled with sand or water. Mulch, potting soil, etc. is combustible and will burn quickly when exposed to heat.
  • place smoking receptacles away from the home, not on the front porch, deck, or outside your door.
  • Remember, “Put it out, all the way, every time.”

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