We’ve all heard the old adage, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. Sometimes, however, THERE CAN BE FIRE WHEN THERE ISN’T ANY SMOKE!!
A number of deaths and injuries by fire have occurred because improperly disposed of fireplace embers and ash which re-ignited, causing disastrous results. The deadly Christmas fire in Connecticut in 2011 is such an example.
Prescott House Fire
Locally, and more recently, the Prescott Fire Department along with the Central Yavapai Fire District were called to a home in the Prescott Heights area. The home had a storage shed that was already overwhelmed by flames that subsequently spread to the home itself. Thankfully all the occupants were safe, but the home was a total loss. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is believed to have started from a box into which the homeowner had emptied ashes from her wood stove. Thinking that the ashes were no longer hot, she placed the box next to the storage shed on the property. (It is interesting to note in this case that the firefighters did not hear smoke alarms going off.) Unfortunately, this is the second fire in Prescott in the past week that is related to the improper disposal of fireplace ashes.
How to Safely Dispose of Fireplace Embers and Ash
It is important to know that fires caused by fireplace embers are preventable. It is very important to dispose of ashes and embers in a safe and proper way. The following are safe ways to prevent re-ignition of the embers and ash:
Dispose of fireplace or wood stove ashes in steel containers with lids that fit snugly.
Store containers away for combustible materials.
Mix ashes with water to make them into a slurry.
Remember that smoke alarms may not warn you against this type of fire because typically, there is no smoke.
Other Important Tips
Make sure to check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors frequently and change out batteries as recommended. Something as simple as a smoke detector could alert you of a fire, allowing you sufficient time to react, saving property and lives.
Consider installing a monitored fire alert / suppression system in your home of office. Fire suppression systems have proven time and time again to save lives and property.
B&W Fire Security Systems of Prescott Valley is a leading fire and security systems provider. B&W designs, installs and maintains fire and security systems for homes and businesses throughout central and northern Arizona and is the trusted provider of fire alarm monitoring for the Central Yavapai Fire Department.