The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office has determined that a Friday night house fire that displaced a family of four was caused by a faulty lithium ion battery.
County dispatchers received multiple 911 calls shortly after 7 p.m. August 21, reporting heavy smoke and flames coming from the garage of a home on Trilobite Court in the Stone Ridge neighborhood near Aldie.
Fire and rescue crews from Kirkpatrick Farms, Dulles South, Aldie, Brambleton, Moorefield, Sterling and Fairfax County were dispatched and arrived on the scene to find heavy fire on both floors of the single-family home. All residents were located safely outside.
Firefighters worked from the outside to get the fire under control and to protect neighboring homes. Once firefighters were able to enter the home, they extinguished the remaining fire and salvaged items for the residents.
A family of four, two adults and two children, were displaced as a result of the fire. The American Red Cross was contacted to offer support and assistance. One adult resident who suffered minor burns to the arms initially declined EMS transport, but subsequently sought care at a hospital. There were no injuries to fire and rescue personnel.
The Fire Marshal’s Office investigation determined the cause of the fire to be a faulty lithium ion battery in a remote-control car that was charging in the garage. Damage to the home was estimated at $958,000.
The Fire Marshal’s Office offered some tips for care of the batteries, which are used in smart phones, laptops, scooters, toys, and cars. In rare cases, they can cause a fire or explosion. Stop using the battery immediately if you notice an odd odor, change in color, excessive heat, a change in shape, leaks, or odd noises. If it is safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.
Helpful Lithium Ion Battery Safety Tips
Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Only use the battery that is designed for the device.
Put batteries in the device the right way.
Only use the charging cord that came with the device.
Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch.