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Lesson learned: Homes destroyed by fires caused by fireplace ashes

(@mcfrsPIO)

ABC7 News got an exclusive look inside a home on Outpost Dr. in Montgomery County, where ashes from a fireplace caused one of several fires recently.

“I took the ashes out to make the space for the wood. I put the ashes in the plastic bag,” said Tang Li.

That is a tough lesson to learn for Tang Li, his wife and their two children.

Video shows heavy flames shooting from the home on Saturday. What was supposed to be a cozy fireplace is now an incredible inconvenience.

“It’s sad. It is really sad,” said Li.

It’s tough to recognize what was in here. There are black walls throughout the home from the smoke damage. Li thought he was safe because the ashes were from the day before.

“The ashes can retain heat for days,” said Pete Piringer, Montgomery Co. Fire & Rescue spokesman. “This can here is full of smart ashes,” he said in referring to a metal container.

Piringer says ashes from a fireplace should go into a metal container, they should be splashed with water, and placed outside and away from a home.

This was news to Li’s neighbor.

“I would try to scoop up whatever I can, first into a plastic bag,” said Ameet Joshi, who now knows that’s not safe.

Li feels lucky that his family was not hurt in the fire.

“I would say be extremely careful, especially it’s this cold and windy,” said Li.

The insurance company tells the family it will take at least six months to repair the damages.

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