Officials: Discarded ashes possible cause of Clayton house fire

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by KREM.com

NWCN.com

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 10:05 PM

CLAYTON, Wash. -- Firefighters credit working smoke detectors for helping save a Steven's County woman Thursday morning.  Flames destroyed her mobile home near Clayton and killed her pet.

Wesley Snyder was first alerted of a problem to the sound of fire engines approaching.  By this time, his neighbor had already run out of the burning trailer.  Fire officials said a smoke detector woke up the woman living inside.  They said the fire spread from the living room and gutted most of the home.

Officials suspect it started when somebody in the home cleaned ashes out of a wood burning stove.  Those ashes were tossed in a cardboard box lined with tin-foil.

"The thought the ashes were cold," said Stevens County Fire District 1 Chief Mike Bucy.  "We've seen this time and time again where it only takes one little spark out of that ash to start something like this."

Bucy said another thing he's seen time and time again during the winter if fire hydrants buried under snow or heavily packed in from plowing.

"We weren't exactly sure where they were at.  They are on our maps, but can't see them visibly coming in obviously taking time.  Fortunately, we did have water tenders come in and bring enough water so that ended up not being a major issue," said Bucy. 

A pet dog did not make it out alive.

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