WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Westport Fire Department is offering winter safety tips as a winter storm and frigid temperatures approach.
The Westport Fire Department is urging all residents to be vigilant when using fireplaces and wood stoves and properly dispose of the ashes.
"More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel burning appliances as primary heat source in their home with many more for supplemental heat and/or decorative use," fire officials said. "As the holidays approach and cold weather sets in, many of us gather around the fire.
"Once the fire is out, the pile of ashes still contains hot coals which can and do remain hidden in the pile of ashes, therefore well insulated. These hot coals can stay hot for 4 to 5 days and can cause a fire due to improper disposal. Improper ash disposal from fireplaces and woodstoves cause thousands of fires every year. Westport experienced the second (reported) this year."
The Westport Fire Department issued the following list of tips for safe disposal of ashes:
- Let them be. Letting the ashes remain in the fireplace for several days until there are no remaining hot embers.
- Never put ashes in a combustible container. Many fires have occurred when ashes are cleaned up and placed in cardboard boxes or paper bags prior to cooling and placed in the trash. Never use a vacuum cleaner
- If the fireplace is cleaned, ashes must be placed in a metal container with a tight fitting lid and stored away from the house. Your garage, house or deck is dangerous locations for ashes to cool.
- The ashes can be disposed of after a week of cooling.
Those with further questions are asked to contact the Westport Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-341-5020.