A bucket of fireplace ashes ignited in the 3800 block of Federal Hill Road at 7:41 a.m. on Monday, activating the smoke alarm and alerting the family that lived there, according to the report.
Flames spread from the back exterior of the home to the roof, the fire marshal reported.
As the house went up in smoke, approximately 80 firefighters responded, bringing the blaze under control within 90 minutes, according to the fire marshal's report.
Companies that assisted in the firefighting operation included Jarrettsville, Fallston, Whiteford, Bel Air, Jacksonville and three Pennsylvania crews—Hereford, Fawn Grove and Delta-Cardiff—the fire marshal said.
The fire marshal estimated that there was $325,000 in damage to the home and $50,000 in damage to items inside the structure.
The family was being assisted by the Red Cross, according to the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association, which noted this was the second fire this week involving ashes.
Ash disposal tips from the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association:
- Put ashes in a metal bucket/container.
- Always use a metal container; never use a plastic or paper bag.
- Take ashes outside, away from the house and combustible material.
- Clear an area to set the container on—possibly down to dirt, ruling out the possibility that grass could catch fire if it were knocked over.
- Completely immerse the materials in water.
- Allow the contents to soak for at least a week.
Ashes can be used as fertilizer on a garden or lawn, and in the winter, they may reduce slipping on snow and ice, according to the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association.Related: Red Cross Assisting 3 People After Jarrettsville House Fire