Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wants to educate locals on how to prevent issues when discarding fireplace ashes after a recent Herndon house fire.
Fire investigators say that improperly disposed fireplace ashes in a trash bag caused the fire last week.
The investigators determined that the fire, which started in the garage, was an accident, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.
Firefighters had the fire under control in about two hours after arriving at the two-story, single family home in the 12100 block of Westwood Hills Drive on the morning of Jan. 31.
The Red Cross has put the displaced family of two adults and three kids up in a hotel. A GoFundMe page is currently raising funds to help the family cover the costs of “small things that add up” — clothes, toiletries, shoes, coats and more — with the hope that insurance will cover the larger losses.
Damages from the fire were approximately $347,162, including exposure damage worth $43,000 to two vehicles and a boat near the house, according to the fire department.
In an effort to help stop similar fires from happening, the fire department has several safety tips for disposal of fireplace ashes. They are the following:
- do not discard ashes in a combustible container (paper or plastic bag), cardboard box or plastic trash can
- do not place ash containers on decks, porches or in garages
- put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid
- pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool
- keep your can outside and away from anything combustible
Additionally, the fire department recommends that all household members learn safety tips for ashes from a fireplace or wood stove.
The fire department is also reminding people that ashes can stay hot for several days.