Fairfax County Fire RescueA charcoal grill left too close to combustibles on an outdoor deck caused a fire to a townhouse on Hemingway Drive in Reston early Sunday.

Fairfax County Fire Rescue were called to the house at 11536 Hemingway at about 1:40 a.m.

Firefighters encountered smoke and fire coming from all levels of a middle unit, three-story townhouse upon arrival. Firefighters conducted an aggressive exterior and interior fire attack and brought the fire under control in approximately 20 minutes.

Fire Rescue officials said occupants from several nearby townhouses all escaped without injuries. Two occupants have been displaced and are receiving Red Cross support.

Smoke alarms did not activate as the fire started on the exterior. The accidential blaze caused $232,000 in damage, fire officials said.

Fairfax County Fire Rescue says to keep these safety tips in mind to prevent a grill fire:

  • Grills should be placed at least 15 feet from any home, building, or combustibles to ensure adequate air circulation.
  • Charcoal must be kept dry. Spare propane bottles should be stored outside away from the home. A backyard shed is a good place.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill. Grills continue to give off heat long after cooking has stopped.
  • Never place hot ashes in paper or plastic bags or containers. Only use metal containers for hot ashes.
  • Use Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved electrical starters in place of lighter fluid.
  • Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.

Subscribe to our mailing list