Smoking in bed likely cause of Virginia Beach fire, officials say

Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 17:26:08-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Virginia Beach Fire Department responded to an early morning fire on Monday.

The fire was reported around 2 a.m. in the 1500 block of Heritage Avenue. Although this was a relatively small fire, officials say it is a story worth telling.

When firefighters arrived at the home they were greeted by a woman outside who said her adult son was still inside the smoke-filled house. Upon entering the home, the man was discovered awake and inside a bedroom where a mattress was smoldering.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the man may have fallen asleep while smoking in bed. The man’s mother was awakened by a working smoke alarm, escaped unharmed and called 911.

Officials say her son, who at first refused to evacuate, was treated outside the home for minor injuries. The man refused to be transported to a hospital for further evaluation.

Smoking is the third leading cause of residential fires in the US. According to the national Fire Protection Association, smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths for the five year period of 2012-2016. Overall, one of every 31 home smoking material fires resulted in death. 34% of those fatalities resulted from fired that started in the bedroom.

The fire at Heritage Avenue this morning was contained to the mattress and no one was seriously injured but had it not been for a working smoke alarm, things might have been worse.