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Fire and Rescue

Posted on: May 26, 2020

Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Caused Two-Alarm Fire

caversham 5-25-20 Smoking Materials news flash.jpg

Loudoun County Fire Officials determined the cause of yesterday’s two-alarm apartment fire was the result of the improper disposal of smoking materials.

Just after 4:30 p.m., Monday, May 25, 2020, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received notification of a structure fire in the 25.000 block of Caversham Terrace in Chantilly. Fire and rescue crews from Dulles South, Brambleton, Kirkpatrick Farms, Fairfax Fire and Rescue, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, along with various command and safety officers, responded.

Firefighters arrived to find fire and smoke coming from the second floor of a garden-style apartment building with fire rapidly extending to the third floor and attic. A Level 1 Rapid Intervention Team and a Second Alarm were requested, bringing additional units to the scene. Fire crews quickly knocked down the bulk of the fire from the exterior as firefighters made their way into the structure. Once inside, crews quickly located and extinguished the fire in the affected apartments and searched adjoining units for fire extension. Crews remained on scene for an extended period of time extinguishing remaining hot spots and assisting the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office with their investigation.

As a result of this fire, 23 adults, 10 children and 5 pets were displaced and were assisted by the American Red Cross. One civilian was evaluated on scene but did not require transport and there were no firefighter injuries. One cat perished in the fire. Fire Marshals determined that the fire was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials into a plastic planter on the balcony of a second floor apartment. Damages to the affected units are estimated at $700,000.

Fires caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials have not only resulted in millions of dollars in damages to Loudoun County homes, they also needlessly endanger citizens and fire and rescue personnel. These fires are preventable! Follow these safety precautions when discarding smoking materials:

  • Dispose of smoking materials ONLY in a metal or ceramic container filled with sand or water.
  • Remember that 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, balcony, deck, or outside your door.
  • Remember, “Put it out, all the way, every time!”

            For additional fire and life safety information, please visit the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office website at or call 703-737-8600.


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