At the scene in the 4300 block of Raleigh Avenue, officials reported seeing smoke/fire on the 4th floor of a residential building extending to roof. A second alarm was called. Units quickly extinguished the fire.
One person of the apartment was treated for minor injuries. Several other tenants in the building are now displaced and being helped by the Red Cross.
As for the cause of the fire:
Fire marshals determined that this morning’s structure fire was accidental due to improperly discarded smoking materials on a balcony. A total of 5 units were deemed unfit for habitation due to fire, smoke, and water damage. Total damage estimated at $450K.
— Alexandria Fire-EMS (@AlexandriaVAFD) January 20, 2019
Whether you smoke yourself or have guests visiting your home who smoke, the Alexandria Fire Department urges you to follow these simple fire safety tips to reduce the risk of a smoking-related fire in your home or on your balcony or patio.
- Never smoke in bed. Mattresses and bedding can quickly catch fire. Do not smoke in bed, because you may also fall asleep with a lit cigarette.
- Smoke outside. Many items in your home can catch on fire easily if they touch something hot like a cigarette or ashes. It is always safer to smoke outside.
- If you smoke it, put it out all the way. Do this every time. Do not walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials. Put water on the ashes and butts to make sure they are completely out before putting them in the trash.
- Put your smoking materials out in an ashtray or bucket with sand. While smoking outdoors is safer, make sure you properly extinguish smoking materials when outdoors or while on a balcony or patio area. Use ashtrays with a wide base that won’t tip over and start a fire. In multifamily buildings and apartment high rises, many people are at risk when a smoker fails to properly extinguish smoking materials.
- Never smoke around medical oxygen. Medical oxygen can explode if a flame or spark is near. Even if the oxygen is turned off, it can still catch on fire.
- Be alert. Do not smoke after taking medicine that makes you tired. You may not be able to prevent or escape from a fire if you are sleepy or have taken medicine that causes drowsiness.
Protect your home from fires by talking to your family about what you should do in case of a fire, and make a fire escape plan. Reduce the risk of fire by installing smoke detectors on every level of your home. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are all in working condition.