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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Discarded Fireplace Ashes Reignite Damaging Bowie Home

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

A fire of accidental origin caused significant damage to a Bowie home and required the family to be relocated.  Their misfortune, while extremely unfortunate, should serve as a timely reminder for others of how to stay warm safely during our cold winter months.

Just after 1:30 pm, Tuesday, November 18, a 911 caller informed call takers the rear of a neighbor’s house was on fire.  Firefighters responded and arrived quickly at a 2-story single-family home in the 14000 block of Heatherstone Drive with heavy smoke coming from the rear.

A quick primary search of the home indicated no occupants were inside.  Firefighters encountered a fire in a converted garage to living area and the rear deck on fire.  The fire was contained within 10 minutes of arrival.

Upon investigation it was determined that fireplace ashes discarded into a plastic container sitting on the wooden deck was the cause of the fire.  The fire caused $75,000 in estimated fire loss.  Tuesdays wind was a likely factor in the reheating and ignition of the plastic container and wooden deck.

No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.  The family made their own alternate living arrangements, as the house is uninhabitable until some repairs are made.

Fireplace ashes can remain capable of reigniting for hours after you think they have stopped burning.   The Fire/EMS Department recommends fireplace ashes be discarded into a sturdy metal container with a lid and stored outdoors on a concrete surface at least 10 feet away from anything combustible.  These ashes can be wet down and left outdoors for several days before discarding. 

Stay Warm Safely!!!

All images provided courtesy of Mark Brady, PGFD PIO

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