An investigation by the Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office determined that Monday morning’s house fire that critically injured one adult was accidental, caused by a malfunctioning lithium-ion battery pack.
Just before 4:00 a.m. on February 6, 2023, Loudoun County fire and rescue units from Cascades, Kincora, Sterling Park, and Fairfax County responded to a house fire on Thrush Road in Sterling after a passerby saw smoke and called 911. Firefighters arrived to find fire in the rear of the home, quickly made entry, and rescued one unconscious adult and several unresponsive pets. The patient was transported to Inova Lansdowne Hospital and remains in critical condition. Two dogs and one cat did not survive the fire.
The Fire Marshal’s estimated the dollar loss at $351,000 for both the structure and contents. The home was also found to be without working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke alarms provide the critical first warning and give you time to get out. Remember these tips:
- Test your alarms monthly by pushing the test button.
- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
- Smoke alarms should be located inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- To get more information on smoke alarms or to request a free smoke alarm assessment visit loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093
- Have a home escape plan so everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm sounds. Practice your plan!
As more and more products are using lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries, fire departments across the Country are seeing an increase in fires caused when these batteries malfunction. When lithium batteries are damaged or fail, they can overheat, catch on fire, and even lead to explosions. Following these easy tips can keep you safe:
- ALWAYS follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage.
- Use the correct battery, cord and power adapter and ensure cords and wires are not damaged or worn.
- Monitor batteries while charging and do not overcharge the device or device battery.
- Keep batteries and devices at room temperature.
- Charge and store batteries away from anything flammable. Never charge a battery or device under your pillow, on your bed, or near a couch.
- Ensure you properly dispose of used batteries. Loudoun County Waste Management offers tips and instructions for the proper disposal of lithium batteries.
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