On Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at 3:08 a.m., the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center dispatched Loudoun County Fire and Rescue (LCFR) units from Brambleton and Dulles South to investigate a general fire alarm that was triggered on Waterford Downs Terrace. When units arrived, they quickly determined there was a small fire on the rear balcony of a four-story condo-style building; the balcony was on the third story. The call was upgraded to a full structure fire, which alerted units from Ashburn, Moorefield, Kirkpatrick Farms, and Sterling to assist.
LCFR crews quickly stretched a hose line to the rear of the building and extinguished the small fire, which had started to melt the ceiling of the balcony. The balcony area had sprinklers, which prevented the fire from spreading further, and allowed crews to fully extinguish the fire.
Following extinguishment of the fire, crews remained on scene for overhaul operations. LCFR crews checked several units for fire extension and smoke and water damage. Crews also ensured the main unit had no fire extension from the balcony into the living spaces of the unit. During this check, LCFR personnel found a female resident in the residence with minor burns. She was evaluated on scene and transported to a local hospital. After being evaluated at the hospital, she was transferred to the DC MedStar Burn Unit for further evaluation and treatment.
The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office (LCFR-FMO) investigation is currently on going. The LCFR-FMO has confirmed that the presence of an exterior sprinkler and working smoke alarms contributed to the successful outcome of the fire. The sprinkler system kept the fire in-check limiting its spread, and the audible smoke alarms alerted the resident to the fire. Damages are estimated at $5,000. There were no reported firefighter injuries. One resident was transported for minor burns.
This fire is a reminder of the importance of home sprinklers and working smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association’s U.S. Experience with Sprinklers (PDF) report, the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present during fires, and the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires.
The LCFR-FMO reminds everyone to check your smoke alarms monthly, and to regularly practice your home escape plan. At the first sign of smoke or fire get out of the home, go to your meeting place, and call 9-1-1. All residents are encouraged to take a few moments to review your home escape plan and to ensure the smoke alarms in your home are installed and working properly. If you’re not sure if your home is protected, visit www.loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093 to access free smoke alarm resources.