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UPDATE: Unattended Candle Caused Lorton House Fire

Luckily, no one was hurt

UPDATE: Investigators with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department have determined that an unattended candle on the front porch caused Saturday's two-alarm house fire in Lorton. The accidental fire completely destroyed the home in the 9200 block of Forest Greens Drive within a half-hour.

Three women (two adults and a juvenile) and a dog were rescued from the scene by a neighbor minutes before the home was overtaken by flames. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for observation. 

Firefighters arrived at the scene at around 5 p.m. and tried to subdue the blaze from both the exterior and interior of the house, but the fire was too intense and had to evacuate. The roof and second floor of the house collapsed.  

Unattended candles claimed the lives of a woman and her two children in a Lorton townhouse fire in the 9600 block of Hagel Circle on the morning of Sept. 22, 2010. Those killed were Elieen Cecilia Langham-Anderson, 24, and her children Soloman, 5, and Alfonso, 3. An adult male and two children were treated at Washington Hospital Burn Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Candle Safety Tips    

  • Do not place candles near combustible materials.
  • Place candles in glass or ceramic containers.
  • Place candles on a flat, sturdy surface.
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with an open flame candle.   
  • Do not place candles on window ledges or near entryways. The potential air draft can fan the flame, catching curtains or other materials on fire.
  • Keep burning candles within sight at all times. Candles can present fire hazards outdoors on decks and patios as well as inside your home.
  • Always extinguish candles before leaving the home.
  • Place all candles on a protected, heat resistant, dry surface away from anything that can catch fire and out of the reach of children and pets.

The National Weather Service has continued its Red Flag Fire Warning until Monday evening for Northern Virginia and the D.C. Metro area. The warning signifies that critical fire weather conditions exist due to low humidity, high temperatures and powerful winds. 

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Original Story - 'He's a Hero': Lorton Man Saves Three in House Fire

Published April 7, 2012

A Lorton man is being hailed a hero on Easter weekend after saving three people and a dog Saturday in an aggressive afternoon house fire in the 7200 block of Forest Greens Drive in Lorton.

No one was injured in the two-alarm fire, and it's due to quick work by neighbor Bill Kim. The home was completely destroyed.  

"I live at the top of the hill, and my daughter, Faith, told me that she saw smoke coming from down the street, so I jumped in my van and rushed down and saw that the entire left side of the house was engulfed in flames," Kim told Patch at the scene. "I knocked on the door and I entered and told everyone that they had to get out immediately... There was no smoke in the house, so it was like the fire started on the outside of the house."

Kim, 46, saved the lives of three women—two adults and a juvenile—as well as a dog. "We got out and the next thing I knew the whole house was completely in flames," he said, adding that he never considered his own safety. "I didn't even think about it. I'm just glad no one was hurt."

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue was alerted of the fire at 4:55 p.m. and were at the scene within four minutes. It took 60 firefighters approximately 15 minutes to extinguish the blaze. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for observation. 

Kim was at the scene at a crucial moment.

"He's a hero... Had he not gotten them out when he did, it would have been a matter of minutes and they wouldn't have been able to get out," said Renee Stilwell, a spokesperson with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

"The fire spread very quickly, and it's no wonder. Look at the breeze out here today," she said.

Investigators are determining the cause of the fire. 

Red Flag Fire Warning

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag fire warning, which is in effect until Sunday evening. The warning signifies that critical fire weather conditions exist due to low humidity, high temperatures and powerful winds. 

Keep up with all things Lorton with the Lorton Patch email newsletter and breaking news alerts. Learn more here.

Grace Kim April 08, 2012 at 04:28 AM
that is my dad and sister there a hero well it was actually was my sister who is the hero!
James Cullum April 08, 2012 at 04:36 AM
That's right, Grace! She was the one who alerted her dad. Without Faith, things would have turned out differently.
Tim Rizer April 14, 2012 at 11:55 AM
This fire occurred in the middle of the day, why was there a candle lit on the porch?
Anna Quigley April 16, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Fire hydrant did not work properly... when I ran out I noticed that there was no volume...and you can see it in the picture of the porch on fire. The water is not even hitting the porch... this haunts me. What do we do?
Anna Quigley April 16, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Yes, Grace... your Dad and sister are heros and we are soooo thankful for you all!
Fizban June 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I can't for the life of me understand why people have candles in this day and age.Some have them for emergency use, I know. Over and over this story happens.

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