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Fire and Rescue

Posted on: November 30, 2021

Safety Tips Offered After Accidental Kitchen Fire Destroys Sterling Townhouse

NEWS and ALERTS newsflash 2

Fire officials are asking Loudoun residents to be extra diligent about fire safety after Monday night’s accidental cooking fire displaced a Sterling family from their home. 

At 8:43 p.m., Monday, November 29, 2021, Loudoun County fire and rescue units from Cascades, Kincora, Sterling Park, Ashburn, Brambleton, and Leesburg, along with several Fairfax County units, were dispatched to a structure fire in the 46,000 block of Ironstone Terrace in Sterling. When firefighters arrived, they reported a three-story townhouse with heavy fire showing from the rear of the structure and immediately requested a second alarm and Rapid Intervention Task Force.

After ensuring all residents were located safely outside, firefighters used multiple hoselines to extinguish the bulk of the fire from the exterior. Additional crews made their way inside the home to extinguish the remaining fire and start overhaul operations.

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office determined the fire was accidental, caused by a stove burner inadvertently left in the on position and estimated damages at $454,000. The fire was mostly contained to the original townhouse although the neighboring home had minor smoke and water damage. The American Red Cross is assisting two adults and four children that were displaced. One firefighter was transported to an area hospital for evaluation and released.

Unattended cooking is often the cause of expensive and even deadly home fires including one in October of 2019 that took the life of a Sterling man. Take these steps to prevent cooking fires and know what to do if a fire does occur: 

  • Watch what you heat! Always remain in the kitchen while cooking, especially on the stovetop. If you leave the kitchen, even briefly, turn off the stove. If baking, roasting, or broiling, set timers to remind you food is cooking. 
  • Maintain a three-foot safety zone for kids and pets around stove and hot appliances.
  • Keep combustibles, like oven mitts, utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains, away from your stovetop.
  • If you have a fire on the stovetop, slide a lid on the pan to smother the flames and turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until the pan is completely cooled. Never pour water on a grease fire!
  • For an oven fire, immediately turn off the heat and close the oven door.
  • When in doubt, get out then call 9-1-1! Close the door behind you to help contain the fire. 

Remember, working smoke alarms save lives! Smoke Alarms provide an early warning giving you more time to safely escape. Install smoke alarms on every level, outside the door of any sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. The Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System’s Smoke Alarm Program offers free home safety inspections to all residents. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the smoke alarm hotline 703-737-8093 or visit

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