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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fire in Columbia Pines was accidental

A house fire at 3803 Ridge Road in the Columbia Pines neighborhood in Annandale Aug. 29 was caused by “an unidentified electrical anomaly leading to an attic fan,” according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. The video below was shot by Columbia Pines resident Bob Kovacs:

“The lone occupant escaped unharmed” and declined assistance from the Red Cross, the Fire Department reports. The owner/occupant is listed as Rory Schultz.

Firefighters responded at approximately 9:05 p.m. They encountered smoke and fire coming from the attic and roof of the two-story house, conducted an aggressive fire attack, and contained the fire to the attic area. It took about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control. Damage is estimated at $40,000.

The fire might have been a small one, but the response was huge. Kovacs said there were at least 22 fire vehicles on the scene, including trucks from Arlington and several Fairfax County stations. 

The Fire Department offers these tips for preventing electrical fires:    

  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid overloading outlets; plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If your power goes out a lot or the lights in your home flicker, smell bad, or make noise, have an electrician inspect your wiring.   
  • The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which prevents electric shocks when water and electricity come together. 
  • All electrical outlets and switches should be covered by face plates.
  • When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Inspect electrical cords to make sure they are in good condition.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you won’t need  extension cords.
  • Don’t tie or knot electrical cords.
  • Don’t let furniture sit on electrical cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.

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