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Posted on: July 20, 2020

Chantilly Family of Four Displaced by Fire

HF Spring Farm Circle 7-18-20 (courtesy FFP) NF.jpg

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office determined that Saturday’s house fire in Chantilly resulted in $875,000 in damages and displaced a family of four.

At 5:18 p.m. Saturday, July 18, 2020, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from a citizen reporting that their neighbor’s home, located on Spring Farm Circle in Chantilly, was on fire. Fire and rescue units from Dulles South, Kirkpatrick Farms, Brambleton, Fairfax County, and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority - Dulles responded to the incident.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the garage of a large, single family home. Crews observed that the fire was quickly spreading from the garage up into the attic space. The residents of the home had been alerted to the fire by a neighbor and were located safely outside when first responders arrived.

Fire crews quickly attacked the bulk of the fire from the exterior of the home before moving inside to extinguish the remaining fire. Due to the outdoor heat index, fire and rescue crews were regularly rotated through a rehabilitation station to ensure firefighters did not suffer heat related illness or injury.

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire to be accidental, caused by the failure of a service line to the home. Mulch along the exterior of the home was ignited and quickly spread to the garage and attic. Damages to the home and one neighboring residence are $875,000. Two adults and two children were displaced by the fire.

Each year during spring and summer, fire departments across the Country respond to structure fires involving mulch. Fires in mulch that is too close to the home can quickly grow into a devastating fire, causing major damage to buildings, homes, and other structures. Since these fires begin outside, where you don’t typically find fire alarm systems, they often go undetected until they have grown significantly making them exceptionally dangerous. To reduce the chance of having a mulch related fire at your residence, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep landscaped mulch beds moist, if possible. During periods of extreme heat and little rain, mulch fires can start more readily.
  • Provide a minimum 18-inch clearance between landscaped mulch beds and combustible building materials.
  • Use only electrical devices and cords listed for outdoor use, and follow the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Provide proper clearance for any electrical devices such as decorative lights by following the manufacturer’s instructions and use only approved yard light bulbs with the appropriate size and wattage.
  • Consider replacing landscaping mulch with decorative stone.
  • Use noncombustible mulch such as rock or pea gravel around the gas meter and next to the combustible portions of the structure.

Photo courtesy FFP.

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