Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 12:52am
City of Madison fire investigators believe a fire that caused $150,000 in damage to a west side home Sunday night was caused by fireplace ashes discarded into a garbage container in the home's attached garage.
City of Madison firefighters responded to 121 North High Point Road shortly before 8:00 p.m. Sunday.
Ladder Company 7 was the first to arrive. Crews were met with heavy flames from the garage. Firefighters quickly attacked the flames, knocking down the fire and preventing its spread throughout the rest of the home.
Crews also worked to prevent exposure to neighboring homes.
The fire destroyed two cars in the garage. There is heat and smoke damage inside the home. The occupants were home at the time of the fire, but evacuated safely.
The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents of this Fireplace Safety Information:
• Fireplaces (with chimneys, which also support wood stoves) represent a significant source (38%) of home heating fires.
• Creosote - a sticky, oily, combustible substance created when wood does not burn completely - rises into the chimney as a liquid and deposits on the chimney walls, and plays a role in one-quarter of all home heating fires each year.
• Half of all U.S. home heating fires occur during December, January and February.
• Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually by a qualified professional.
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating equipment, and create a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room
• Never leave a fireplace fire unattended, particularly when children are present.
• Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container, and kept at a safe distance from your home.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947