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UPDATED: Apartment Fire Near Rosslyn Started By Hot Embers

Arlington County firefighters responded to an apartment fire near Rosslyn Tuesday night.

Units on the scene reported flames coming from a third story apartment at the Rosslyn Heights apartment building on the 1800 block of N. Quinn Street.

A fire on the exterior balcony had extended to the interior of an apartment, according to the fire department Twitter account. The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported.

The residents of three apartments were displaced due to fire, smoke and water damage.

Update at 4:15 p.m. on 1/22/14 — In a press release, the Arlington County Fire Dept. says this fire started due to improper disposal of hot embers.

Last night, Arlington firefighters responded to a fire that started on the balcony and quickly spread to the inside of the apartment. Fortunately, no one was injured and the fire was reported early, keeping damage to an estimated $20,000. The fire was caused when occupants extinguished a fire in their fireplace with water and placed the logs outside on the deck. The occupants knew that it was dangerous to leave a fireplace unattended, but did not know how to properly dispose of hot ashes and embers.

It is a common misconception that the ashes are safe once the fire is extinguished; however, ashes and embers can smolder for hours. Ashes must be disposed of properly to prevent these types of fires from occurring. Once the fire is extinguished, place the ashes in a metal container with a lid. Never place ashes directly into a trash can or paper bag. Move the metal container outside and away from all combustibles, including decks, garages, and leaves. Soak the ashes with water and re-cover.

The Arlington County Fire Department recommends you follow these safety tips when using a fireplace:

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Always use a metal or heat-tempered glass screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
  • Use only newspaper and kindling wood or fire starters to start a fire, never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Only burn dry, seasoned wood.
  • Never leave the fireplace unattended.
  • Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing.
  • Place ashes in a metal container with a lid. Move the container at least 10 feet from the building and saturate the ashes with water.

More information at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/fireplace.shtm

Photo courtesy @hilary1121

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