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Fairfax County firefighters say an improperly discarded cigarette is responsible for a Herndon townhouse fire that caused $900,000 worth of damage and displaced nine people.

Firefighters responded to the fire Aug.10 at approximately 7:00 p.m. in the McNair Farms in the 2400 block of Wheat Meadow Circle in the McNair Farms subdivision.

Firefighters said they encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from two floors of the three-level, middle of the row single-family townhouse upon their arrival.

“The fire was well underway when we got there,” said fire and rescue spokesman Dan Schmidt. “It was a big one.”

Schmidt said an incident commander quickly called a second alarm, bringing more than 60 firefighters to the scene. Despite firefighters conducting an aggressive fire attack, the fire spread to several adjacent townhomes, damaging them. It took firefighters approximately 45 minutes to bring the fire under control, Schmidt said.

Occupants from the damaged townhomes all escaped unharmed. Firefighters also conducted extensive overhaul and salvage operations, Schmidt said.

Two of the townhomes were a total loss, and four others received minor damage. Nine occupants were displaced. Officials say the Red Cross is assisting all of the displaced and that there were no injuries.

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com