WASHINGTON -- Smoking materials improperly discarded on a deck of a townhome in Herndon, Virginia area caused $900,000 in damages, destroyed two homes and damaged four others Sunday evening.
Firefighters responded to the home in the McNair Farms community, in 2400 block of Wheat Meadow Circle, just after 7 p.m.
"It was a big fire," says Dan Schmidt, spokesman for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
"The fire was well underway when we got there," he says.
Schmidt says the fire on the outside of the middle townhouse spread up the side of the home and into the attic and roof areas.
The fire spread to the two adjacent homes and also damaged a fourth. home.
More than 60 firefighters fought the two-alarm, accidental blaze.
No one was injured, but nine people have been displaced.
See video of the fire below, courtesy Northern Virginia Fire Buffs:
The fire department offers the following tips for getting rid of cigarettes:
- Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away. They won't smolder if they are put in water.
- Don't smoke in bed.
- Use large, deep ashtrays with a center support. Check furniture for dropped ashes.. Empty ashes into a fireproof container with water and sand.
- Keep cigarettes and cigars away from anything that can burn.
- Don't smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
- Remember that fire-safe cigarettes are less likely to cause fires.
- Stay alert.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children's sight and reach.
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