Charging electric scooter to blame for 2-alarm townhouse fire in Sterling

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A two-alarm fire in Sterling on Monday. (Courtesy David Payne/via Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office)

A malfunctioning battery in a charging electric scooter sparked a Monday afternoon townhouse fire that displaced seven residents.

Just after 3 p.m., the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received multiple 911 calls reporting a fire in the 20000 block of Ashcroft Terrace in Sterling.

Loudoun County Fire and rescue units from Sterling Cascades, Sterling Park, Kincora, Ashburn, Moorefield, Leesburg, and Fairfax County were dispatched to the call along with numerous command officers, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office said in a news release.

Firefighters arrived on the scene to find heavy smoke and significant fire coming from a three-story, end unit townhouse and requested a second alarm rapid intervention team. Crews ensured that all residents had evacuated before using master stream devices to knock down the fire from the exterior and protect neighboring homes, the release said.

A two-alarm fire in Sterling. (Courtesy Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office)

Once safe, firefighters made entry and rapidly extinguished the remaining fire, containing it to the original townhouse and limiting damages to adjoining townhomes, fire officials said.

Two of the three occupants, home at the time of the fire, were evaluated on the scene for minor smoke inhalation. One Loudoun firefighter was taken to a local hospital for a heat-related illness, the release said.

The fire marshal’s office determined the blaze was accidental due to a malfunction within an electric scooter that was charging.

Damages to the home and its contents are estimated at $712,272 with $30,000 in damages to the immediately neighboring townhome.

Seven occupants of the home, representing three generations, were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Sterling townhouse fire. (Courtesy Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office)

Fire 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. To help prevent incidents such as this, the Loudoun County FMO suggests following some simple safety precautions when charging accessories.

Helpful Battery Safety Tips

  • 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.

For additional fire prevention and life safety information, please visit or call our Public Education Manager Lisa Braun at 571-258-3222.

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