For Additional Information:
Laura Rinehart, Public Information Officer
Laura.Rinehart@loudoun.gov or 571-233-1649
December 14, 2017
For Immediate Release: Victim Identified in Lovettsville House Fire
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) believes that Sunday night’s house fire that took the life of 73-year-old Robert Steves was accidental, resulting from an electrical malfunction in the living room.
Just before 8:30 p.m., Sunday, December 10th, fire and rescue crews responded to 12259 Taylorstown Road in Lovettsville for a house fire. When firefighters arrived on the scene they encountered heavy fire in the structure forcing them to make an exterior attack before entering the home to search for occupants. Once fire crews made entry to the home and conducted their search the deceased victim was located on the first floor.
The home did not have working smoke alarms and it was reported that Mr. Steves had limited mobility capabilities. Both are thought to have contributed to his inability to exit the home safely. The FMO estimated damages to the home at $300,000.
Per the National Fire Protection Association, firefighters responded to an average of 45,210 reported U.S. home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction from 2010 to 2014. These fires resulted in 420 civilian deaths, 1,370 civilian injuries and $1.4 billion in direct property damage each year. Extension cords account for 57% of these fires; the greatest share of home fires involving cords or plugs.
To help reduce your risk, it is recommended that you have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. The following are additional tips residents can follow to help keep their homes safe from electrical fires:
- Ensure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance being used.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only. Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring, instead have a qualified electrician install additional outlets in your home.
- Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where damaged cords can go unnoticed.
Home escape planning is vital for all families and can provide critical seconds to safely exit your home when there is a fire. Create a home escape plan with two ways out, and a meeting place outside. When creating the plan, be sure to consider each family member’s abilities to safely exit the home. Practice the plan regularly. Additionally, ensure that you have working smoke alarms on each level of your home, outside sleeping areas and in every bedroom. The Loudoun County “Put a Finger On It” Smoke Alarm Program offers free smoke alarm assessments to all Loudoun County residents. For more information visitwww.loudoun.gov/firemarshal or call 703-737-8600.