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Posted on: November 12, 2020

Working Smoke Alarms and a Closed Door Kept Ashburn Family Safe

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An Ashburn family of three was awakened suddenly by their smoke alarms just after 1:15 a.m. on Monday, November 9, 2020. When the smoke alarms sounded, the resident discovered a small fire burning in a second story bedroom and immediately closed the door, called 9-1-1 and evacuated. The simple act of closing the bedroom door before evacuating placed a critical barrier between the residents and the fire, slowing the fire spread to the rest of the home and allowing precious time for firefighters to arrive.  

Fire and rescue crews from Moorefield, Brambleton, Dulles South, Ashburn, Lansdowne and Leesburg responded to the fire located in the 21,000 block of Awbrey Place. First responders arrived on scene and observed fire and smoke conditions on the second floor and located all occupants safely outside. Firefighters immediately made their way to the second floor where they quickly found and extinguished a fire inside a bedroom.    

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office investigation determined that the fire was accidental, caused when a lit candle came in contact with nearby combustibles. All three residents were displaced. Damages were confined to the second story bedroom with no further extension throughout the home and estimated at $100,000. There were no injuries to civilians or first responders. View image of damage. 

The Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System joins UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) to encourage all residents to “Close Before You Doze.”  By adopting the lifesaving practice of closing bedroom, bathroom and basement doors before going to bed, you are providing a critical safety barrier that in the event of a fire, will give your family more time to escape. A closed door is another safety tool, like smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, that can provide an added layer of safety in your home. 

Please follow these simple safety measures to increase your risk of survival in the event of a fire in your home:

  • Close your doors at night. Sleeping with a closed door can protect you and your family by slowing the spread of a fire, reducing toxic smoke levels, improving oxygen levels, and decreasing temperatures, dramatically increasing your chance of survival. 
  • If a fire ignites and you can get out of the burning structure, do so quickly and close every door behind you as you exit. If you cannot safely evacuate, put a closed door between you and the fire to buy yourself valuable time. Never go back inside a burning home.
  • For parents worried about hearing their child through a closed door, simply place a baby monitor in the child's room. 
  • Make sure your smoke and CO alarms are in working condition. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home and test them monthly. If you need assistance, visit loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093.
  • Finally, have an escape plan! Identify two ways out of every room, designate a meeting place outside and be sure to practice your escape plan as a family.

For additional fire and life safety information, please visit loudoun.gov/firemarshal or call the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-737-8600. For information on the research behind this life-saving initiative, please visit CloseYourDoor.org.

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Source: Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI)

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