Woodstove ashes spark Monday night blaze

Avoid similar incidents with safe disposal of ashes

North Kitsap Fire & Rescue encourages the public to properly dispose of woodstove and fireplace ashes following a small enclosure fire in Kingston Monday night.

Improperly-discarded woodstove ashes are thought to have sparked the late-night fire that attracted lots of attention in a North Kitsap neighborhood and drew a large fire response.

NKF&R along with Bainbridge Island Fire Department and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were originally called at 11:31 p.m. to respond to a commercial structure fire off of Foxglove Lane after a friend of the property owner called 911.

NKF&R arrived on scene in a little over 11 minutes due to being slowed by narrow, steep and slippery roads leading to the incident location.

Firefighting efforts were also hampered due to access issues. Fire tender trucks were too big to make it down the driveway and there weren’t any nearby fire hydrants creating water supply issues. Crews used the water aboard two engines (about 1,500 gallons) to handle the blaze.

Fortunately, the fire destroyed only a small enclosure used to store trash and resulted in no injuries to firefighters or civilians.

Firefighters were able to confirm that the fire was much smaller than initially reported and canceled most of the other units still en route.

An investigator from the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene and found that there was no electrical power to the enclosure. The homeowner told the investigator that he’d disposed of woodstove ashes in the enclosure earlier that afternoon. Based on that and other witness statements as well as physical evidence, the investigator believes that the fire was sparked by the discarded ashes and coals.

According to a press release from NKF&R even when cool to the touch, ashes and coals — from fireplaces, woodstoves, barbecues, etc. — can retain enough heat in their cores to ignite combustibles under the right conditions.

Officials recommend that ashes be placed into a water-filled, metal can with a tight-fitting lid and away from anything that can burn.

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