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Westport 2010 Christmas Fire Tied to Fireplace

A Stamford Christmas Day fire that killed five persons and whose cause today was said to be fireplace ashes recalled a Westport Christmas-related fire a year ago that started under similar circumstances.

WestportNow.com Image
The mud room of a Westport home where a fire broke out the day after Christmas 2010 in fireplace ashes placed there. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

A small fire broke out on Dec. 26, 2010 in fireplace ashes left in the mud room of a home at 82 Hillspoint Road, the Westport Fire Department said. (See WestportNow Dec. 26, 2010)

The homeowners managed to douse the flames with a portable fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived, said Assistant Chief Robert Kepchar.

He said the homeowners stated that they had taken the ashes from the fireplace the day before, Christmas evening, and placed them in a bag and a cardboard box and put them in the mud room.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Dec. 26, they smelled smoke, opened the door to the mud room and saw that the containers were on fire, Kepchar said.  The debris was then removed from the home by firefighters.

Kepchar reminded residents to properly dispose of ashes by placing them in metal containers and bringing them outside.

At a Stamford news conference today, fire officials said the Christmas morning fire that killed three girls and their grandparents was started by fireplace embers that had been cleared out of the fireplace and put in either a mud room attached to the house or a trash enclosure next to the mud room.

One thought on “Westport 2010 Christmas Fire Tied to Fireplace

  1. The Westport Fire Marshal’s office reminds residents of the following guidelines for disposing of fireplace ashes:

    1) Wait until ashes are completely cool – this can take as long as 48 hours.

    2) Use metal tools to scoop up the ashes.

    3) Place the ashes in a metal can with a lid, and ensure the lid is tightly closed.

    4) Store your ash can outside your dwelling on a non-combustible surface- NEVER on a wood deck.

    5) If you dispose of the ashes yourself at the Westport Transfer Station – place them in the metal barrel by the pit. Never dump ashes into the pit.

    6) NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to clean out your fireplace.

    7) ALWAYS be sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of your home.

    The Westport Fire Marshal’s Office

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