The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office has completed their investigation into a two-alarm house fire that did $1.5 million in damages to eight homes earlier and offers important safety tips.
At 3:24 a.m., on July 31, 2019, the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System responded to a reported house fire at 20238 Millstead Drive in Ashburn. When firefighters arrived on the scene they found two, neighboring, single family homes with significant fire showing. Crews quickly searched for occupants and initiated an aggressive fire attack on the two homes and worked to protect the neighboring structures.
The home where the fire began was unoccupied at the time of the incident and the residents of the other three homes affected were out of the area. There was one firefighter treated for a minor burn injury and no civilian injuries.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office has classified the fire as accidental, due to the spontaneous combustion of improperly disposed oily rags, and estimated the total damages at $1.5 million. The estimated dollar loss includes the originally impacted four homes and an additional four homes that received minor damages.
This incident demonstrates the safety hazards posed by projects around the home. Oil-based products and other highly volatile products commonly used for projects include paints, stains, teak oil, linseed oil, varnishes, polyurethane, and paint thinners. When oil and stain soaked rags are not disposed of properly they can become a fire hazard due to their ability to spontaneously combust.
Prevention of spontaneous combustion fires begins with good housekeeping as a clean work area can prevent a fire from spreading. To properly and safely dispose of oil or gas soaked rags:
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