LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - The Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office says an electric scooter battery was the cause of a house fire that displaced seven residents.
Just after 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 21, Loudoun County Communications received multiple 911 calls reporting a fire on Ashcroft Terrace in Sterling.
Loudoun County Fire and rescue was dispatched. Firefighters arrived at the scene and saw heavy smoke and flames coming from a three-story, end-unit townhouse.
Residents were evacuated and a master stream was used to knock down the fire from the exterior and protect neighboring homes. Fire crews then went inside of the home and put out the remaining fire, limiting damages to adjoining townhomes.
Two of the three occupants who were home at the time of the fire were evaluated by EMS for minor smoke inhalation and one Loudoun firefighter was transported to a local hospital for a heat-related illness.
"It all went up so fast," said Paula Botero-Paramo. Her family was renting the home and lost everything. Neighbors started a Gofundme page to raise money for the family.
Following an investigation, the Fire Marshal determined that the fire was accidental, caused by a malfunction occurred while the electric scooter was charging. Damages to the home and its contents are estimated at $712,272 with $30,000 in damages to the immediately neighboring townhome.
The seven residents who were displaced, representing three generations, are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
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Investigators are still working to identify the exact model and manufacturer of the electric scooter and will be following up with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Loudoun County Fire Marshal is providing tips to prevent a similar fire:
- Stop using batteries immediately if you notice an odd odor, change in color or shape, excessive heat, leaks, or odd noises. If it is safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.
- Purchase/use devices listed by a qualified testing laboratory and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only use the battery and charging cord that is designed for the device.
- Monitor any battery or device that is being charged.
- Do not charge batteries when warm or just used. Allow them to cool before charging.
- Do not charge a device on your bed or couch and always store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.
- Keep batteries at room temperature. Do not place batteries in direct sunlight or keep them in hot vehicles.
More than $38,000 has already been raised for the victims. If you would like to donate, click here.