SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — South Summit Fire District (SSFD) responded to a garage fire on Monday. SSFD determined that the initial cause of the fire was ashes that were removed from a fireplace. Unfortunately, fires started by removing ashes from a fireplace are not uncommon. SSFD cites the occurrences of fires in several homes, garages, and dumpsters every year. The National Fire Protection Association states that home fires caused by ash or other sources used to heat a home in the winter account for two out of every five fires taking place, making these incidents the second leading cause of US home fires and home fire injuries.
Home fires caused by the improper removal and discarding of ashes account for almost 10,000 fires each year, according to the NFPA. One in five home fire deaths is directly caused by heating equipment fires. There are ways to reduce the risk of fire when disposing of ashes. The SSFD says that one should never empty ashes into a paper or plastic bag, cardboard box, or other similar flammable material. The safest method is to use a metal container while disposing of ash from a fireplace. Other causes of fire risk are chimneys and spark arresters that must be cleaned but are often overlooked, according to the SSFD.
Thankfully the garage fire that occurred yesterday did not cause injury or serious damage. It is still a reminder to remain aware of how to reduce fire risk to stay safe.
In addition to the recommendations from the SSFD, several publications on the NFPA website show best practices for staying warm in the winter while staying safe.