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Fire and Rescue

Posted on: April 21, 2023

Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Determined Cause of Leesburg House Fire

Leesburg House Fire on April 20, 2023

The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal’s Office (LCFR-FMO) determined that Thursday’s house fire on Browns Creek Place in Leesburg was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. 

At 11:10 AM on Thursday, April 20, 2023, the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received multiple 911 calls reporting a house fire in the 40200 block of Browns Creek Place in Leesburg. Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Units from Leesburg, Aldie, Brambleton, Hamilton, Moorefield, and Lansdowne were dispatched. 

The first arriving units reported a large, single-family home with significant smoke and fire conditions. They also confirmed that all occupants were out of the home. With all occupants confirmed out of the home and due to the house being heavily engulfed in fire the decision was made to extinguish the fire from the exterior of the home. 

This home is in an area of Loudoun County where fire hydrants are not present, and additional fire and rescue units were dispatched from Ashburn, Kirkpatrick Farms, Lucketts, Purcellville, Lovettsville, and Prince William County to assist with water supply operations. These additional units shuttled water to the scene from nearby water sources such as local ponds via 3,000-gallon water tanks to ensure the crews fighting the fire had an adequate supply of water throughout the entire operation. 

The LCFR-FMO investigators determined the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. Damages are estimated at $2.15 million, this includes $1.2 million for the primary home, $750,000 in contents, and $200,000 for two neighboring homes that received exterior damage due to the radiant heat from the fire. Five occupants were displaced, and one cat is unaccounted for. One firefighter was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. 

According to the US Fire Administration, home fires started by smoking materials caused 330 deaths, 725 injuries and $368.9 billion in loss in 2020. Improperly discarded smoking materials have caused two home fires this week for an estimated $2.5 million in damages. These fires are preventable by following a few simple tips: 

  • If you smoke, do so outside. 
  • Put cigarettes out all the way, every time. 
  • Residents should ensure they place discarded smoking materials in approved containers to limit the possibility of accidental fires. Never use plastic containers or anything that holds potting soil and be sure to clean out cigarette butt containers often. 
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Hot ashes can smolder for days and can start a fire when thrown away. 
  • Use a deep, sturdy ashtray and be sure it is placed on a surface where it will not tip over. 
  • Place containers away from the house. Never place containers on front porches, decks, or just outside the door. 
  • Test smoke alarms monthly and replace units as specified by the manufacturer’s instructions. 

For more information on home fire safety, to schedule a free home safety assessment, or obtain information regarding our LC-CFRS smoke alarm program, visit loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093.

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