House fire near Concord started by ashes left in bucket on back porch

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (BCN) – A fire started by ashes left in a bucket next to a stack of firewood caused extensive damage to a house in unincorporated Concord early this morning, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District captain said.

The two-alarm blaze was reported at 5:30 a.m. at a home in the 1900 block of Judith Place off of Myrtle Drive, Fire Capt. George Laing said.

Ashes from the fireplace were left in a plastic bucket near the woodpile on the home’s back porch and caught fire. The flames quickly spread to the side of the home and the attic, Laing said.

It took firefighters awhile to put out the flames at the home, which covers about 3,500 square feet, but crews eventually controlled the blaze by 7:17 a.m., Laing said. He said firefighters remained at the scene this morning to put out any hot spots.

Damage to the home was “extensive,” with more than 50 percent of the roof burned through or collapsed, as well as smoke and water damage throughout the structure, Laing said.

Firefighters initially entered the home to battle the blaze, but pulled back quickly because of concerns over the structural integrity of the roof, he said.

Laing said the fire should serve as a reminder to residents to safely dispose of all fireplace embers.

“It’s kind of like a campfire, you pour water in it, and make sure the ashes are all out before putting them in a non-combustible container,” he said.

Laing also encouraged residents to have their chimneys and fireplaces professionally examined and cleaned since the recent cold weather has led to more people using their fireplaces and more accidents.

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