Fire officials send out safety warning after day-old ashes spark house fire in St. Charles County

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – A St. Charles County family is dealing with the damages left behind after their home caught fire the day after Christmas.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire was day-old ashes that reignited.

The family is working on their living arrangements and fire officials have safety tips as people continue to use fireplaces during this winter season.

Central Fire and County Rescue firefighters went out to a home on Delaware Drive the day after Christmas.

The teenage son of the homeowner’s room is right next to where the fire sparked.

“Her son smelled smoke but he didn’t think anything about it because the neighbors apparently burn quite often,” said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Brown, Central Fire and County Rescue.

The smell of smoke was coming from their deck.

“When he looked out of the window, there the fire was coming up the side of the house,” Brown said.

Fire officials found the spark was caused by ashes cleaned out from the fireplace and placed in a box on the deck.

“These ashes were 24 hours old. Normally, everyone would think they are out,” Brown said.

They were not. FOX 2 talked to the family off-camera, who said they gathered by the fire on Christmas Day and thought surely the ashes had cooled off.

Brown said it’s common for those ashes to remain hot long after they’ve sat in the fireplace.

“We actually have documented ashes from three days, 72 hours, where they still caught a trashcan on fire in a garage,” Brown said.

As families continue to warm their homes, fire officials send out a reminder you of how to safely dispose of the ashes left behind.

“The recommendation is to put your ashes in a metal container, set them at least six feet away from the house, and let them cool down for a long, long time,” Brown said.

The damages of the home will cost around $50,000.

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