Unattended Food on Stove Causes Apartment Fire

(Photo: Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department)

Unattended food on a stove caused a three alarm fire and required eight residents to be rescued by ground ladder from a Bailey’s Crossroads apartment building in the early morning of Jan. 31, per Fairfax County’s Fire and Rescue Department.

According the fire department, an occupant returned home and discovered the fire. He alerted other occupants by yelling and knocking on doors while multiple 9-1-1 calls were also phoned in about the location and indicated multiple people were trapped in their apartments.

Units arrived on scene and observed fire showing from the second and third floors and extending to the roof, per the fire department. At that time a second alarm was requested and fire department crews engaged in fire fighting and rescue operations. According to the fire department, the building stairwell was also filled with thick smoke.

Due to the weather conditions and nature of the fire, a third alarm was requested by department. After containing the fire, the eight occupants were rescued from the rear of the building by firefighters from Arlington County, Alexandria City and Fairfax County, according to the fire department. As a result of below freezing temperatures, a Fast Trans bus was used to keep displaced civilians warm.  Firefighters, meanwhile, utilized the Rehab Unit and Training Academy bus to rotate out of the frigid temperatures. Per the fire department, one resident was evaluated by EMS but declined transport. There were no firefighter injuries reported by the fire department.

The fire department’s fire investigators reported that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the kitchen area of one of the units. Twelve apartments were damaged during the event and were unable to be reoccupied. Red Cross assisted 32 residents with their immediate needs. Damages as a result of the fire was approximately $335,000.