Firefighters offer crucial safety tips after an early morning fire displaces two adults and a child from their Aldie home.
Just after 12:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 2, 2022, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue units from Kirkpatrick Farms, Aldie, Dulles South, Brambleton and Prince William County Fire and Rescue were dispatched to Yellow Birch Court for a structure fire. Fire and rescue crews arrived on the scene to find a large, single-family home with significant smoke and fire coming from the attached garage. Crews found the residents, two adults and one child, uninjured and located safely outside as they approached the home.
Firefighters quickly made access to the garage and extinguished the fire, preventing it from spreading into the residence. Fortunately, the non-combustible exterior siding on the home, and a closed interior door to the home’s living space helped limit fire spread during this morning’s fire.
The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office has determined the cause of the fire to be accidental, due to the improper disposal of oil-soaked rags/brushes within the garage. There were no injuries to civilians or public safety personnel. Damages to the home and contents are estimated at $150,000.
This incident demonstrates the significant safety hazards posed by some do-it-yourself projects around the home. Oil-based and highly volatile products commonly used for projects include paints, stains, teak oil, linseed oil, varnishes, polyurethane, and paint thinners. When oil and stain-soaked rags are not disposed of properly they become a fire hazard due to their ability to spontaneously combust.
To dispose of oil or gas-soaked rags properly and safely:
- Dry rags by spreading them out in a single layer on the ground/driveway or hanging them in a safe area away from combustibles.
- An oily rag has cured when it becomes hard and brittle which can vary depending on humidity, temperature, and the finish.
- Place dry rags in an airtight metal container with tight-fitting lid and cover with water and an oil breakdown detergent.
- Once cured, the materials can be safely disposed of at appropriate hazardous waste collection sites.
To learn more about the dangers of working with oil or gas-soaked rags around the home, check out the National Fire Protection Association’s Safety Tip Sheet or contact Lisa Braun, Public Education Manager at 571-258-3222.