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Mount Vernon Commercial Building Fire Deemed Accidental

The cause was improperly installed electrical wiring.

The fire that broke out Sunday afternoon at the commercial building housing Friendly's Rent-A-Car located at 8145 Richmond Hwy. in Mount Vernon was determined to be an accidental electrical fire.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a structure fire call on Sunday at approximately 5:20 p.m. The building contained three businesses.

Upon arrival, firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the outside electrical power meter of the two-story building, according to a press release issued by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Fire was rapidly spreading up the vinyl siding and into the second floor; firefighters conducted an aggressive fire attack from the exterior and interior of the second floor and extinguished the fire in approximately ten minutes. There were no injuries.

Damage is estimated at $30,000, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Fire investigators determined the fire was accidental, caused by improperly installed electrical wiring involving the electrical meter.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue offers the following electrical safety tips:

  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If your power goes out a lot or the lights in your home flicker, smell bad, or make noise, have an electrician come in to inspect your wiring.   
  • The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).  This is a tool that protects you from dangerous shock when water and electricity come together.  An electrician can install a GFCI for you.
  • All electrical outlets and switches should be covered by “face plates.”
  • When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Inspect electrical cords to make sure they are in good condition.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Don’t tie or knot electrical cords.
  • Don’t let furniture sit on electrical cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.

Read more:

Fire Breaks Out at Friendly's Rent-A-Car in Mount Vernon Sunday

T Ailshire April 02, 2013 at 12:14 PM
How can "improperly installed" equal "accidental"? SOMEONE installed it improperly. Perhaps "negligent", perhaps "erroneous", but "accidental" implies no one was responsible, and that is not the case, if the rest of the facts in this story are correct.
BERNIE WRIGHT April 02, 2013 at 12:40 PM
How about wiring arounf the meter??? Nothing accidental about that...

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