First-arriving firefighters attacked the fire from outside, while additional crews searched the home to ensure everyone had safely escaped.
Crews were able to extinguish burning siding in less than ten minutes, and kept the fire from spreading to an adjacent home. Firefighters spent additional time contending with fire that had climbed into the attic through vents. Fire, water and smoke caused approximately $50,000 of damage, though firefighters were able to spare most of the owners’ belongings. No one was injured, but a couple has been displaced as a result of the fire.
A fire investigator has determined the accidental fire was caused by fireplace ashes that had been placed in a plastic recycling bin stored next to the home. With the cold temperatures, a lot of people are using their fireplaces and woodstoves. “Just like proper disposal of charcoal briquettes in summer, we encourage people to dispose of fireplace and woodstove ashes during the winter in a metal container with a lid. Also be sure to keep discarded ashes away from any combustibles," states TVF&R Public Information Officer Cassandra Ulven. “Ashes can smolder for days and pose a danger even when you think they’re cold."
To avoid such fires, TVF&R urges community members to “can your ashes”:
• Treat all ashes and coals as hot, even when you think they’ve had time enough to cool.
• Allow ashes and coals to cool in the area where you had the fire for several days. Fireplaces, wood stoves and barbecues are designed to contain their heat safely.
• When disposing of ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
• Keep the metal container outside your home and away from any combustibles.
• DO NOT place any other combustibles in the metal container.