Ashes in bag set Jacks Valley blaze

A Jacks Valley garage fire was started Tuesday when ashes that weren't yet cool enough for disposal were placed in a paper bag.

Homeowner Beth Leidich placed her fireplace ashes into the bag, and then into a cardboard box. The box went into the garbage can at the front corner of her garage, according to East Fork Fire Marshal Steve Eisele.

"She said she smelled smoke 30-45 minutes later," he said. "When she went out she found the garbage can on fire."

Leidich opened the garage door to extinguish the fire. She got the fire out in the garbage can, but the wind picked up the embers and set fire to other things in the garage.

"It totally consumed the contents of the garage, including the car," he said.

Eisele said the woman told him she hadn't had a fire in 2-3 days and thought the ashes were cold enough to be disposed.

"The message we need to get out there is to dispose of ashes in a metal container and leave them there for at least a couple of weeks."

The fire didn't make it into the home, but because of the damage in the garage, required that the utilities be turned off.

Eisele said the water heater was destroyed. There was substantial damage to the home's electrical system.


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