Fire officials: Fort Washington blaze caused by charcoal

Prince George's County fire officials responded to the fire in Fort Washington at 11:40 a.m. (Prince Georgeo's County fire)
No injuries were reported in Sunday's fire, but officials estimate damage at $100,000. (Prince George's County fire)
Officials say the fire was caused by charcoal briquettes that were not properly disposed of. (Prince George's County fire)

A fire that broke out Sunday in Fort Washington, Maryland, was caused by charcoal briquettes that were not properly disposed of, according to fire officials in Prince George’s County.

The Prince George’s County Fire Department responded to the blaze on the 1300 block of Gun Powder Court shortly before noon.

No injuries were reported in the fire, but officials estimate $100,000 worth of damage to the home. Firefighters were able to successfully put out the fire and all occupants of the home were safe.

In light of Sunday’s incident, Prince George’s County Fire officials shared some statistics and safety tips about charcoal fires.

  • On average, 10,200 home fires are started by grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • July is the peak month for grill fires, followed by June, May and August.
  • Each year, about 19,000 patients go to the emergency room because of injuries involving grills, including 9,300 thermal burns.
  • Gas grills contribute to a higher number of fires than charcoal grills.
  • 70% of U.S. households own at least one outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker.
  • Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed away from the home, deck railings and away from leaves and overhanging branches.
  • Children and pets should be at least 3 feet away from the grill area.
  • Grease or fat buildup should be removed from the grills and from trays below the grill.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Gas grill lids should be open before lighting.
  • Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.
  • Only charcoal starter fluid should be used. Never add charcoal fluid or other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Electric charcoal started do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • Coal should be completely cool before disposing them in a metal container.

Below is a map of where the fire took place.

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