Fire officials say improperly discarded smoking materials caused an accidental fire last week in an Oakton home. Damage was estimated at $20,000. The incident occurred Monday, Feb. 10, at 2615 Hunter Mill Road.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to the single-family home around 10:25 p.m. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the front of the two-story house. They conducted an aggressive attack and quickly brought the flames in an upstairs bedroom under control. Fire damage was contained to that bedroom.
The home had no working smoking alarms, but the occupants were able to escape from the house before the firefighters arrived. Four adults and one child were displaced; no one was injured. In light of this incident, fire officials offer the following tips about smoking materials and safety:
Completely douse cigarette butts and ashes with water before throwing them away, as they can smolder and cause a fire. Never smoke in bed. Provide large, deep ashtrays with a center support for smokers. Before going to bed, check furniture for any dropped ashes. Empty ashes into a fireproof container filled with water and sand.
Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (for example, mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.). Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used. Smokers should choose fire-safe cigarettes because they’re less likely to cause fires.
To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, people must be alert. But fire officials say it’s not possible if people are sleepy, have been drinking or have taken medicine or other drugs. Adults are also warned to keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach.
— Bonnie Hobbs