There was a fire earlier this week at the 8200 block of Crestwood Heights Drive in Tysons, but even before Fairfax Fire & Rescue arrived it was doused by the building’s sprinkler system.
The fire started just after midnight in an upper-floor apartment of a 19-story high-rise building. There were no injuries and $200 in damages.
Bill Delaney, a public affairs officer for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said fires being taken out by sprinklers before firefighters arrive is uncommon, given that sprinklers are only typical in newer high rise buildings.
“Sprinklers are mostly located in high-rise buildings, condos, apartments,” said Delaney. “Also a variety of commercial type buildings and businesses. Older types of those buildings do not have fire sprinklers as it was not a requirement at the time they were built.”
Delaney said the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. Delaney noted that this was the sixth fire in 2019 caused by discarded cigarettes or other smoking devices. One last week caused significant damage to a home after cigarettes were thrown into the trash.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue offered a few suggestions for safely disposing of cigarettes.
- Never dispose of cigarette butts in potted planting soil. The soil, when it gets too dry, can become highly flammable.
- Never flick cigarettes into mulch or shrubbery. Dispose of them in a suitable ashtray or bucket with sand. Ensure designated outside smoking areas have an appropriate fireproof container, ashtray or bucket.
- Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away, as they can smolder and cause a fire.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays with a center support for smokers. Check furniture for any dropped ashes before going to bed. Empty ashes into a fireproof container with water and sand.
- Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
- If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.
- To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
- Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach.