Discarded Smoking Materials Blamed in Balcony Fire

An early morning March 29 Leesburg apartment fire displaced two occupants and their pets.

According to the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office, the fire, which began on an apartment balcony, was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials.

Just before 3 a.m. Monday, the county dispatchers received a 911 call from a Heritage Way resident stating a fire on the balcony was spreading into the apartment. The residents were instructed to evacuate and also pulled building’s fire alarm to alert other residents to the fire.

Fire and rescue units from Leesburg, Lansdowne, Ashburn, and Lucketts were dispatched to the scene where smoke and fire were visible from the third-floor balcony. Firefighters extinguished the fire in the apartment and an adjacent attic space. The was fire under control within 20 minutes of arrival. No injuries were reported.

Damage was estimated at $30,000.

The Fire Marshal’s Office issued a reminder about smoking safety, including:

if you smoke, do so outside.

•use a deep, sturdy ashtray placed on a surface where it will not tip over.

• place cigarettes in containers such as metal or ceramic pots filled with sand. Never use plastic containers or anything that holds potting soil. Be sure to clean out cigarette butt containers often.

• place containers away from the house; never placed on front porches, decks, or just outside the door.

•soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Hot ashes can smolder for days.

•test smoke alarms monthly and replace units as specified by the manufacturer’s instructions.

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