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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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12/7/2012 9:55:00 PM
Improperly disposed fireplace ashes cause $15,000 damage to Prescott home
Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

Prescott firefighters put out a fire Thursday in the garage of a home in the Haisley Homestead area of Prescott caused by improperly disposed fireplace ashes, said Prescott Fire Division Chief Don Devendorf.

At 10:05 a.m., firefighters answered a call about a fire at a two-story home in the 500 block of Turtleback Road and found heavy smoke coming from the garage.

Firefighters tried to enter the garage from the home, but heavy fire conditions led them to fight the fire from the exterior garage door as the fire vented through the door and a window, Devendorf said.

Firefighters knocked down the fire in minutes, contained it to the garage, and there was only minor damage to the rest of the home, Devendorf said.

Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to check for fire extension into the walls or attic and found none, Devendorf said.

Three engine companies, a truck company, five chief officers, an investigator, a utility truck, and an ambulance - 21 personnel - answered the call.

No one was injured in the fire.

A man living at the home told firefighters he had taken a box of fireplace ashes into the garage about an hour before smoke detectors went off, Devendorf said.

The man told firefighters he was on the second floor when he heard the smoke alarm, found the fire in the garage, and called 911.

"Had there not been working smoke detectors in the home, the fire would have been able to grow much larger in size before he would have been aware of it," Devendorf said.

Damage from the fire is estimated to be $15,000, and an estimated $375,000 in property and contents was saved, Devendorf said.

Volunteers helped two adults after the fire in Prescott, said Trudy Thompson Rice, communications officer with the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter.

"This is the second structure fire in Prescott this week that has caused much less damage than it could have based solely on the existence of operational smoke detectors," Devendorf said.

Construction requirements that there be a one-hour separation door between a garage and the living space of a home, also helped contain the fire to the garage, Devendorf said.

"Remember that ashes stay hot for much longer than you think they do," Devendorf said. "The only safe method to dispose of ashes is to place them in a metal container, away from any combustible material, and wet them to make a slurry."

Once ashes have been soaked and are cold, you can dispose of them, Devendorf said.

"Do not place your dry ashes in your trash receptacle as they can start a fire there, or even in the refuse truck that they end up in, even many days later," Devendorf said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: Worried Neighbor

They are all around us, Haisley Homestead is a forested area and this could have resulted in a very bad situation from a stupid mistake. One would think if you live in an area like this you would have some common sense when it came to disposing of ashes. Guess not !
Thanks for having a great Fire Department that was able to midigate the possible damage that could have occured .

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: S Campis

A "box of fireplace ashes"!! A BOX?!! I can see it if this box was metal but, OMG, where did this man come from or better yet, what was he smoking?!! Take all combustibles, fire sources away from this man!

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: Steven G

How many times i have heard this!
PEOPLE, Please put you ashes OUTSIDE if your not sure if you don't think the're out!
I have seen apartment buildings catch on fire because of people putting ashes from their B.B.Q. out on the deck.
Don't trust that they are out!!!!!!!
I have had a small fire myself from the pellet stove ashes. Stove was warm and off quite a while, there was STILL a hot ash, and i smelled smoke a hour later on the deck, grabed fire ext. & put it out.

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