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Week in Fairfax

Grill Causes Townhouse Fire in Fair Oaks

Fire officials say a fire Monday night at a Fair Oaks townhouse was accidental, but damage is estimated at more than $10,000. They attribute the cause to an unattended grill on the deck.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to the single-family townhouse at 12582 Garland Tree Court on July 30, around 10:30 p.m. First-arriving firefighters encountered smoke and fire coming from the second-floor deck in the rear of the two-story, middle townhouse.

The flames were rapidly spreading upward into the eaves and attic. But firefighters were able to attack the fire aggressively from the outside and quickly extinguish the blaze. According to the Fire Department, the home’s interior suffered minor damage from the fire. No one was injured; however, four adults and two children were displaced.

As a result of this incident, the Fire Department offers the following Grill Safety Tips to residents:

  • Grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building or combustibles to insure adequate air circulation.

  • Charcoal must be kept dry. Wet charcoal can spontaneously ignite. Spare propane bottles should be stored outside away from the home. A backyard shed is a good place.

  • Keep children and pets away from grills; they continue giving off heat long after cooking has stopped.

  • Never place hot ashes in paper or plastic bags or containers. Only use metal containers for hot ashes.

  • Use Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved electrical starters in place of lighter fluid.

  • Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It’s both unsafe and against the law.

— Bonnie Hobbs

Collecting Bikes for Bikes for the World

Senthil Kannan, a Boy Scout in Troop 1983, will be collecting bikes on behalf of Bikes the World for his Eagle Scout Project. The collection will take place on Sept. 16, 12 – 4 p.m. at the REI in Fairfax Corner, 11950 Grand Commons Ave. in Fairfax. Donate your used bike (and bike parts) to make a difference in someone’s life. Bikes for the World works with partner charities in developing countries who train and hire local people to recondition bikes and distribute them to individuals in need of affordable transportation. A $10 donation along with your donated bike (both are tax-deductible) covers shipping and handling, and your donation will help reduce landfill waste. Contact Senthil at senthil.kannan.61109@gmail.com. For general information visit www.bikesfortheworld.org.