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Posted on: October 30, 2020

Fire Officials Offer Safety Tips and Credit Automatic Fire Sprinklers After Ashburn Fire

Photo of indoor sprinkler on ceiling

Just after 2:00 a.m. on Friday, October 30, fire and rescue units from Ashburn, Moorfield, Lansdowne, Sterling Park, and Leesburg responded to the 21,000 block of Thatcher Terrace in Ashburn for a reported structure fire. Initial 9-1-1 callers indicated that the alarms were sounding and that there were smoke and fire conditions on the third floor. 

Engine 606 from Ashburn arrived on scene to find a three-story, garden-style apartment with no smoke or fire visible. As residents continued evacuating the structure, firefighters made their way to the third floor where they found light smoke in the breezeway. Firefighters made entry into a third-floor apartment where they located a fire on the stovetop that had been contained by the automatic fire sprinkler system. Crews ensured the fire was completely extinguished and verified that there was no fire extension into neighboring apartments. Fire and rescue crews utilized large fans to ventilate the remaining smoke from the structure and assisted the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) with their investigation. 

The FMO investigation determined that the fire was accidental, resulting from unattended food on the stove, and estimated damages at $100,000. There were no injuries to first responders or civilians however, a total of twelve residents were displaced from three apartments.

This incident serves as another powerful reminder about both the dangers of unattended cooking as well as the importance of these lifesaving sprinkler systems. Practicing fire safety in the kitchen will reduce the risk of a cooking related fire in your home. Always remain alert, stay in the kitchen when cooking, keep all flammable items away from the stovetop and ensure smoke alarms are installed and functioning properly. 

The quick activation of the sprinkler system kept this fire contained to the kitchen, limiting the fire spread, and keeping the damages to only three units. “It’s important to educate the public about how automatic fire sprinklers help to contain and prevent fires from becoming more significant emergencies,” said Fire Chief Keith Johnson. “Fire sprinklers save lives, including those of first responders, and greatly reduce the physical, emotional and financial damages that fires bring to a community.”

To learn more about fire prevention and life safety initiatives in your community, visit the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s webpage at or call 703-737-8600.

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