HARTFORD, Conn. — Fire safety officials are warning homeowners about the dangers of fireplace ashes after a Christmas morning blaze that killed five people in Connecticut.
Authorities say the fire in Stamford was caused by a bag of fireplace ashes left near the back of the home. Seven-year-old twin girls, their 10-year-old sister and their grandparents died.
The U.S. Fire Administration says ashes can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to 24 hours. The agency recommends leaving ashes in the fireplace protected by a metal or glass screen with the damper open.
If the ashes are removed, they should be placed outside in a metal container well away from the house.
The agency says hot embers or ashes cause more than 11,500 residential building fires a year.