Safety Alert - Central County Fire & Rescue

Safety Alert

Warm, Dry, Windy Conditions Lead to Two House Fires in 16 Hours

CCFR encourages residents to be extremely cautious, properly dispose of smoking materials and ashes, and avoid open burning until further notice.

In the span of 16 hours on March 18, 2014 smoking materials combined with dried grass and windy conditions caused two house fires within the Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) service area.

“Cigarettes that were improperly disposed of caused the grass to ignite which then rapidly spread to the yards and decks of both homes. One of the fires spread to the back of the house before fire units arrived” said CCFR Chief Russ Mason.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2011 there were an estimated 90,000 smoking-material fires in the United States. These fires caused 540 civilian deaths, 1,640 civilian injuries and $621 million in direct property damage.

The recent warm, dry weather increases the chance of fires, which can be started with smoking materials, barbeque grills, fireplace ashes or burning debris. “It only takes a second for a dry grass fire to engulf a yard and spread to the deck and house” said Mason.

Charcoal and fireplace ashes can ignite lightweight combustible material more then 24 hours after the fire has gone out. CCFR recommends disposing of smoking materials and ashes in a metal canister that is at least six feet away from the home. Grills and fire pits should also be at least six-feet away from the house, yard waste or deck railings.

“For the safety of our residents we ask that if a fire starts they immediately evacuate the area and call 911,” said Mason. “We were fortunate that no one was injured in either of these recent fires.”

As of March 19, 2014 the cost of the damage to both homes was still being determined.