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Posted on: January 11, 2024

Sterling Structure Fire Caused by Unattended Candle

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The Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System (LC-CFRS) reminds community members about the importance of candle safety after a structure fire displaces one Sterling resident. 

At approximately 10:58 a.m. on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue units from Sterling, Kincora, Cascades, as well as Fairfax County, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, and Loudoun County Command Staff were dispatched to the 1000 block of Warwick Court in Sterling for a reported structure fire. The reporting party stated they could smell smoke and audible alarms were activated from a nearby apartment. Upon arrival, crews observed a two-story apartment-style building with nothing visible from the exterior, and a walk-around of the structure presented no visible hazards. Crews entered the building and discovered smoke conditions inside a unit on the second floor. A Rapid Intervention Task Force was subsequently requested to bring additional firefighters to the scene. Firefighters entered the apartment to find no active fire but moderate smoke conditions present, during which they began to search for the fire and perform ventilation. Fire and Rescue crews found a smoldering fire which was contained to a tabletop, then began overhaul and additional smoke removal operations. 

The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office investigation classified the fire as accidental, resulting from an unattended candle. No one was home at the time of the incident and no civilian or firefighter injuries were reported. The single occupant was displaced, and damages are estimated at $25,000. 

Candles can be used for several different reasons, such as covering scents, celebrating special occasions and religious ceremonies, and adding decorations to spaces. Regardless of the nature for which you use candles, the LC-CFRS reminds community members to stay vigilant and only use candles in a safe manner. Candles should be placed on a sturdy, nonflammable surface, away from children, pets, and never placed closer than 36” to other materials that could accidentally catch fire. Candles require constant supervision by an adult, and you must ensure that candles are completely extinguished before leaving the area. A safe alternative to candles is using flameless candles that still look and smell real. Additionally, ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace units as specified by the manufacturer’s instructions. For more information about smoke alarms, visit our website or call 703-737-8093. 

For more information about fire prevention and life safety resources, visit our website or call 703-737-8600.

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