Northern Virginia Fire that Caused $2 Million in Damage Blamed On Disposal of Smoking Materials

By Peter DePaolis

The improper disposal of smoking materials is the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. In recent weeks, a number of such fires have occurred throughout the country. Improperly disposed charcoal briquettes led to a fire that burned down the storage shed of a Tennessee family. A Northern Virginia family lost their three-story home when improperly disposed fireworks caught fire and ignited nearby aerosol cans. If negligent behavior has led to injury or property loss for you, a Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation.

A fire in Northern Virginia recently forced five families to vacate their houses. The fire completely destroyed three houses, rendered two uninhabitable and damaged an additional three. The chief fire marshal described it as one of the largest fires ever in Manassas, having caused $2.2 to 2.5 million in damages. Investigators were able to determine that cigarettes at one of the houses were discarded in potted plants, which caused the fire. The cigarettes may have still been burning when the resident disposed of them, causing them to ignite mulch, leaves or soil in the pots, which then caught the house on fire.

Fire officials throughout the country have warned Americans not to dispose of cigarettes in potting soil. Such soil is not dirt and usually contains different types of fertilizers that can actually accelerate a fire. Homeowners should provide ashtrays or another type of receptacle for smokers to dispose of cigarettes. If potting soil catches fire, it can lead to disastrous results, as in this instance. The pot can ignite decks and vinyl siding, leading to large house fires.

If a negligently started fire has harmed you or a loved one, contact Thomas McWeeny, a Northern Virginia personal injury attorney, at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.