Improper disposal of fireplace ashes leads to fire at house in the Highlands

Units from Renton Fire & Emergency Services Department, assisted by Eastside Fire & Rescue, responded to a house fire in the Renton Highlands just before 1 a.m. Friday morning.

Upon arrival, they found a vehicle and carport fully involved in flames and fire extending into the home. All the occupants escaped without injury and the fire was quickly controlled.

The fire did approximately $150,000 worth of damages. Fire investigators determined the cause of the fire to be ashes that were removed from a fireplace and placed in a plastic container in the carport.

This is the latest of several fires that have occurred this winter from improperly disposed of fireplace ashes.

Every year the Renton Fire & Emergency Services Department responds to several fires related to improper disposal of ashes from fireplaces and wood stoves.

The following are precautions one should take when disposing of ashes:

• Make sure ashes are placed in a metal container. Even if you have not had a fire in your wood-burning appliance for several days, hot ashes can be present. Placing ashes in a combustible container is an invitation to tragedy.

• Never place containers of ashes on a deck or porch, near a structure or inside a plastic garbage collection container.  Make sure they are far away from anything that can burn.

• Ashes are good for soil.  A great way to dispose of ashes is to spread them in a garden and wet them down.  This will remove any chance of a fire occurring.

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