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Central County Fire & Rescue offer tips to prevent fires this winter

Something didn’t smell right. This smell of something burning prompted a resident of the Park Charles subdivision in St. Peters to call 911.

When Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) firefighters arrived on the scene they smelled the distinctive smell of burning plastic. Using a thermal imaging (infrared) camera they discovered a plastic bucket inside the garage that contained smoldering fireplace ashes.

The ashes were more than two days old but were still hot enough to burn through the bucket and start a fire.

“If the homeowner had not called when he did this could have quickly turned in to a major house fire,” said CCFR Chief

Russ Mason
. “Fireplace ashes can stay hot enough to start a fire for days after they are removed. It is critically important to dispose of fireplace, fire pit and barbeque grill ashes in a metal bucket that is stored away from the house.

Be sure to keep decorations a safe distance from fireplaces.

Be sure to keep decorations a safe distance from fireplaces.

“During the holidays we see more and more people using their fireplaces. Residents need to remember safety first when starting a fire indoors.”

That being said, CCFR recommends the following tips to prevent a fireplace fire:
· Check the chimney and flue to ensure it is clear of debris.
· Use a fireproof screen in front of the fire.
· Dispose of ashes in a metal trash can that is stored at least six-feet away from.
· Keep all decorations and other items that can catch fire at least three-feet away from the fireplace.

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