The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the cause of Friday’s house fire that displaced three Ashburn residents was an unattended stovetop burner.
Just after 5 p.m. Sept. 24, county dispatchers received a call reporting smoke coming from the second-floor windows of a Postrail Square townhouse. The neighbor reported that the residents were not home, but there were pets were inside. Fire and Rescue units from Ashburn, Lansdowne, Moorefield, Kincora, and Leesburg were sent to the scene. They found an active fire in the kitchen on the second floor. The fire was quickly extinguished and contained to the kitchen area. A dog and three cats were recovered inside the home.
All levels of the townhouse suffered smoke and heat damage. The townhouse had smoke alarms, but it was unclear whether they were functioning; crews installed new alarms before clearing the scene.
It was unclear whether the stovetop burner was left on or was turned on inadvertently. Damage was estimated at $373,760.
Unattended equipment is a factor in 31% of reported home cooking fires and over 53% of the associated deaths according to the National Fire Protection Association. Loudoun Fire-Rescue recommends the following safety tips:
· Always stay in the kitchen when cooking.
· If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop
· If you have children or pets in the home, make sure they are kept at least 3 feet away from the stove-top or oven.
· Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers when not cooking to prevent pets and children from turning your stove or oven on inadvertently.
· Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop
· If a fire happens, get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
· Call 9-1-1 after you leave.
· Have working smoke alarms on every level of the home and in every bedroom.
For additional fire prevention and life safety information, visit Loudoun.gov/fireprevention or call Public Education Manager Lisa Braun at 571-258-3222.