An elderly woman died Sunday in an apartment fire that was likely caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, fire officials in Alexandria, Virginia, say.
Another resident of the apartment building on the 6000 block of Edsall Road smelled smoke and called 911 just before 5:30 a.m. The dispatcher told the person to pull the fire alarm so everyone inside would leave the building, the Alexandria Fire Department said.
Firefighters found a woman in a bedroom of the first-floor unit that was on fire and dragged her out onto a patio, where she succumbed to her injuries, the department said.
First responders also rescued a few people from a third-floor terrace.
No other residents or firefighters were injured.
Fire marshals determined the fire started in the bedroom and improperly discarded smoking materials probably sparked the flames. A medical examiner will report the woman's cause of death.
“The Alexandria Fire Department would like to remind residents to be extremely cautious when handling smoking materials,” Acting Fire Chief Corey Smedley said in a release. “If you choose to smoke, always smoke outside and extinguish your cigarettes and other smoking materials by putting water on the ashes and butts to make sure they’re completely out before placing it in the proper receptacle.”
The building sustained about $225,000 in damages, according to the fire department.
No residents were displaced.
Police are also involved in the investigation.