Ashes in recycling bin ignite fire that damages State College home, Centre Region inspector says

mdawson@centredaily.comOctober 28, 2013 

Fires77

A structure fire on Sunday, October 27, 2013, burned the home located at 942 Crabapple Drive, in State College, Pa.

NABIL K. MARK — CDT photo

A State College home caught fire Sunday morning after ashes from a wood stove ignited in a recycling bin outside the house.

No one was home at 942 Crabapple Drive when the fire started in the plastic container and spread to the two-story house and garage. County property records show the home is owned by Ronald and Helen Snyder.

Steve Bair, the fire director for the Centre Region, said the owners came home after 11 a.m. to find the house on fire.

When crews from the Alpha Fire Company responded to the fire, flames were coming through the roof of the garage and smoke was billowing out of the attic, he said.

The house sustained significant damage but is not a complete loss, Bair said. The fire singed the vinyl siding on the exterior and burned a hole in the roof and in the garage roof.

The inside of the house sustained smoke damage, too, he said.

The house is not habitable, Bair said, and the homeowners made arrangements to stay elsewhere. The house was insured, he said.

The ashes were discarded into a recycling bin around 7 a.m. outside the house. Bair said the owners then went to run some errands, and the fire started sometime while they were gone.

Bair said it’s important not to dump ashes into plastic containers or anything that is combustible, especially now that the weather is getting colder and people are more likely to use wood stoves for heating. Instead, Bair recommended putting the ashes in a metal trash can away from one’s house.

“Ashes look and seem cold, but unless you’ve really literally run through them in fine detail, you can’t be sure,” he said. “If you’re going to dispose of ashes, I would dispose of them in a container that’s metal.”

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