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MCFRS News Release

For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2012

Release ID: 12-035
Contact: Scott Graham, Public Information Office
(240) 876-1260 Phone
(240) 777-2442 Media Line
Follow us @MCFirePIO

Montgomery County Residents Urged to Can their Ashes

Every year 'cold ashes' result in house fires

Montgomery County, MD - - - As the cold season officially arrives, residents are reminded that fireplace and wood-stove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. Residents should never put ashes in a paper or plastic bag, cardboard box or plastic bucket.  

“Embers often concealed in what appears to be cold ashes, can remain hot enough to rekindle a fire for several days,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “We want residents to enjoy their fireplaces, wood stoves and grills but to always take care to dispose of the ashes wisely.”

Your garage, house or deck are unsafe locations for ashes to cool and have been the site of many recent and devastating fires both locally and nationally. After ashes have cooled in a metal container, take great care when disposing ashes. Fire officials in Montgomery County recommend the following safety tips to keep you and your family safe:  

  • Allow all ashes to cool in place for several days, if possible.
  • When it’s time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down. Only use an approved metal ash bucket that has a tight fitting metal lid.
  • Store the container outside, away from structures, decks, fences, wood piles or other combustible materials.
  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
  • Don't dispose of ashes outside on a windy day. The wind can whip up what may have seemed like cool embers, making them fiery hot and sending them traveling to ignite nearby combustibles.
  • And lastly, always have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly to ensure they are operational.




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