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December 22, 2017

Christmas lights, smoking materials destroy 3 homes

Fires — all started accidentally — have destroyed three Fauquier County homes in the last two weeks.

The most recent total loss resulted from a blaze reported early Friday morning on Catlett Road near Midland.

“Sheriff’s office fire investigators have worked diligently, with the assistance of other law enforcement partners and the Fauquier County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management, to determine the cause of several recent residential structure fires,” Sgt. James Hartman said in a press release Friday morning. “These investigations have determined the cause of these recent fires to be accidental.”

The Monday, Dec. 11, fire that destroyed a Mosby Drive home in the Warrenton Lakes subdivision started with “electrical components running Christmas lights,” Sgt. Hartman said.

The Wednesday, Dec. 20, fire on Kirkland Drive in the Lake Whippoorwill subdivision north of Warrenton “has been determined to be from the improper disposal of smoking materials,” he wrote.

“Last night, just after midnight, a third residential structure fire occurred on Catlett Road,” Sgt. Hartman added. “The cause of this fire has been determined to be from the improper disposal of smoking materials.

“Collection efforts are underway to assist the families of the Mosby Drive and Kirkland Drive fires by the Arlington County Police Department Friends and Family Fund (Mosby Drive) and the Lake Whippoorwill Homeowner’s Association (Kirkland Drive. We will make every effort to let the public know of efforts to support the family from last night’s fire on Catlett Road.”
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citizen observer · December 29, 2017 at 4:04 pm
So where does it say anywhere that the smoking materials came from the residents?

Improper disposal of smoking materials is a broad statement. They could have had guests flick a cigarette off their porch or balcony because they didn't allow smokers in the house. It lands in something and smolders until it lights everything on fire. The residents may have never known it even happened until it was too late.

If you have a management company that allows occupants to reside without the required insurance; I would be hiring a lawyer to dig deep into that company's pockets to help pay for repairs.

I agree with Dora and my prayers go out to these families suffering a devastating loss.
Rover 530 · December 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Throwing smoldering smoking materials in the trash within the house is gross carelessness no matter how you frame it. Shame on them but they have to live with the knowledge that they could have prevented the tragedy by properly disposing of the smoking materials outside the home or not smoking altogether. Someone in the effected families has to accept the total responsibility for what happened. What if one of the firefighters had been injured or killed fighting such negligent fires?
BJ · December 26, 2017 at 7:03 pm
@ Jim Griffin - We learned the hard way when we rented our home while we were deployed overseas. Stated in the rental contract, the renters must have insurance (the management company never checked!!) and NO SMOKING in the house. When they "improperly disposed of smoking materials in the garage, we were faced with a heck of a mess with fire damage, and then there was the smoke damage to the inside of the house (had to remove carpets, draperies, replace countertops in the bathrooms and kitchen that had cigarette burn marks, wash and repaint walls and ceilings.)

"Intentional damage to the property caused by the homeowner, as well as any damage resulting from negligence on the part of the homeowner, is not covered by home insurance."

The people who rented our house didn't have renters insurance, so the cost all came to us to repair the damage except for the renters deposit ($500) even though we informed our insurance company we would be renting our house for 2 years while overseas. The considered renters 3rd parties not covered under our insurance.

Dora Mast don't bother praying for me, I don't need or want your prayers to grow some compassion, as two of the fires were caused by negligence, that's on the people that lived there. After our experience with "improper disposal of smoking materials", I will remain cold-hearted in this situation.
Jim Griffin · December 26, 2017 at 3:19 pm
Facebook Dora: Do not mistake Blaine's (BJ) tough love for bad intent. Observing that choice plays a role in tragedy is intended to reduce harm, not salt victim's wounds.

These pages often record similar comments. Horrific fireballs from rear-end collisions clearly the result of distracted driving. Overdose and drug-related disease, nicotine addiction a leading cause of fires, and on through a long list of choice-related calamity.

Is it compassionate to simply look the other way without comment? To excuse poor choice with a fig leaf of sympathy?

Public education remains the best path to improving the human condition. I've never met BJ, but I've been reading his comments for quite a while. I feel sure his compassion is real even if expressed in a different manner than you might prefer.
BJ · December 23, 2017 at 9:16 am
"Improper disposal of smoking materials." No sympathy unless there were children in the household, then I feel bad for their loss of home AND that they had family members who smoked, putting not only themselves but the whole family at risk.

Blaine Johnson
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Thursday, December 13
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1993 — Illegal tire dumps, movie theater OK’d, minority recruiting lags, Gulick elected bishop and PEC adds Disney researcher
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