Shortly before midnight on Tuesday December 15, 2020 the Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Co., along with other area Volunteer fire Companies were alerted to assist the Jarrettsville VFC for a reported dwelling fire in the 3400 block of Widows Care in the Quiet Inheritance development. First arriving units reported the dwelling to be fully involved. Personnel quickly determined that all occupants were safely out of the structure and a defensive firefighting operation was initiated. Additional large capacity tankers were requested to the scene as this area is not served by public water and fire hydrants. One firefighter was reported to have suffered a hand injury while involved in the rural water operation, no other injuries were reported. Investigators from the Office of Maryland State Fire Marshal were also requested to determine the cause and origin of the fire. As of this time the fire cause was preliminarily determined to be accidental due to discarded ashes. The OSFM reports that “A family member initially heard a noise and later observed a fire in the area of rear porch and rapidly spreading upwards on the side of the home. A family of five and two dogs were able to safely evacuate the home and call 911.”
The fire was declared under control in approximately 90 minutes with apparatus remaining on scene until 0315 hours. The property loss was estimated to be $600,000 including contends of the structure.
The FVFAC and the OSFM urge homeowners to remember that you should …”Treat ALL ashes and coals as ashes, even when you think they had time enough to cool. Take care to dispose of them wisely. Your house, deck or garage are unsafe locations for storing ashes while they cool and have been the site of many recent and devastating fires both locally and nationally. Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside and at least 10 feet from your home or nearby buildings. The FVFAC and the Office of the State Fire Marshal recommend the following:
- Do not discard your ashes into any combustible container such as a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
- Do not place ash containers on decks, porches or in garages.
- Put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
- Pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
- Keep your can OUTSIDE the home, away from your fireplace or stove and anything combustible.
- Teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove.
Please be sure to practice these procedures and pass this information on to family and friends who may have fireplaces, woodstoves, or other devices that generate ashes!
FVFAC units on this call included Engine 1312, Tanker 1321, Truck 1331, and Chief Officers.
photo credits FVFAC members and JVFC.
Rural Water operations using 2 “Port-A-Ponds” Cleaning and checking equipment after the fire