Forty Montgomery County firefighters responded to a house fire in the 7200 block of Garland Avenue shortly after 2 p.m. on Nov. 4 in Takoma Park.
The fire began in the kitchen area and was quickly extinguished, according to Assistant Chief Scott Graham, with no extension to the house.
The cause of the blaze has been ruled accidental, Graham said, caused by fireplace embers/ashes that had been cleaned out of the fireplace and were improperly disposed of in the kitchen area.
He said damage is estimated at $100,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents of the house. One occupant was displaced. There were no injuries.
Following the fire, local officials provided some tips to help other homeowners.
Fireplace and wood-stove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. Many people do not realize the length of time required for ashes to cool and often use inappropriate containers to dispose of ashes. With the winter months ahead, some tips on how to properly dispose of fireplace and wood-stove ashes and reminders to residents to “can their ashes:
· DO NOT discard your ashes into any combustible container like a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can or recycling bin.
Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up or pick up ashes.
· DO put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
· DO pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
· DO keep your can OUTSIDE the home, far away from combustibles.
· DO teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove.
As always, please make sure you test your smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries annually.