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Armonk Fire Chief Reacts to Wednesday Night Fire

ARMONK, N.Y. – The disposal of fireplace ashes can quickly turn into a dangerous house fire and in the wake of a close-call fire Wednesday night in Armonk, Fire Chief Luci Labriolla-Cuffe said homeowners need to use caution.

The close-call fire Wednesday night raised not-so-distant memories of a Stamford fire , which killed five people inside the home. The owner of the Armonk residence placed leftover ashes from the fireplace inside a plastic bag outside on a wooden deck, and noticed the smoke before it became a greater threat, Labriolla-Cuffe said.

"The family woke up and luckily saw the smoke conditions," Labriolla-Cuffe said. "Our crews got there quick and took care of it within minutes."

The homeowner at 83 Byram Ridge Road in Armonk called the police close to 11 p.m. Wednesday night after noticing smoke, the chief said. There was minimal damage reported from the fire.

It could have been worse. What was most important, Labriolla-Cuffe said, was making sure families were aware of the precautions necessary to prevent such a situation from getting as bad as it could have been.

"To be safe, residents should put their ashes in a metal bucket or a container and certainly not on a wooden deck," Labriolla-Cuffe said. "If you can, also pour some water in it to make sure this doesn't happen."

The chief said ashes retain heat much longer than many might expect and the proper precautions must be taken to assure that leftover ashes from a fireplace do not spread into a larger fire hazard.

In light of a fairly similar but minor Christmas Eve fire in Armonk, Labriolla-Cuffe said the Armonk Fire Department listed several tips residents should consider for the remainder of winter when dealing with ashes. They can be found on the fire department's website .

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