Patio Torch Blamed for Fire That Destroys Sterling Townhouse

Patio Torch Blamed for Fire That Destroys Sterling Townhouse

Improper storage of a hot patio torch was blamed for an accidental fire July 10 that caused an estimated $100,000 damage to a townhouse in Sterling.

Several residents were displaced by nobody was injured, according to Loudoun County officials.

The Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call about 2:07 Tuesday reporting a fire on the deck of a townhouse in the 1000 block of Warwick Court. Crews from Sterling Park, Cascades, Kincora, Moorefield, and Fairfax County responded.

Firefighters reported active fire on the rear of a townhouse and a Level I Rapid Intervention Team was requested, bringing additional Fire and Rescue units from Ashburn and Fairfax County.

The fire was on the second floor deck that was extending to the interior of the home. Crews extinguished the fire and checked to make sure the fire had not spread to any other areas of the home. Firefighters then ventilated smoke from the adjoining townhomes and helped check the welfare of the residents.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office blamed the fire on improper storage of a used patio torch.
The Fire Marshal’s Office issued the following reminders regarding safe use of patio torches and similar devices:

  • Equally space your patio torches throughout your backyard or patio.
  • Do not place torches under trees, overhangs or near any flammable materials.
  • Position torches at least 6 feet away from the house or other structures.
  • Place torches 6 to 8 inches into the ground or use a torch stake or stand for extra stability.
  • To extinguish or snuff the fire out, place a cap or similar object on the wick until flame is entirely suffocated.
  • Once flame extinguished, remove cap allowing wick to completely cool before storing or discarding the torch.
  • Oil can remain in the torches when not in use.
  • Store torches in a secure, up-right position so torches do not tip.
  • Keep torches out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Torches and torch fuel are safety stored outside, but fuel should be protected from freezing.
Joseph Dill