Hot Coals Burn Through Deck, Threaten Home

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Hot coals placed in a cardboard box set on a wooden deck.

That was the recipe for disaster that destroyed the front deck of a home at the Cedar Grove Manor Trailer Park on East Frontier Street.

According to Payson Assistant Fire Chief Don Rose, Hank Wright put the box of hot coals on his deck around 6 p.m. Wednesday. He then fell asleep on his couch, and around midnight, awoke to the orange glow that was flickering at his living room window.

"He said he immediately left the house and called 911," Rose said.

A crew of 15 firefighters arrived within minutes and began their attack on the blaze, which was consuming the deck and threatening to burn through the front door. Firefighters were able to direct a stream of water between the fire and the home, and within 25 minutes had the fire under control.

"There was only minor smoke damage to the interior of the house," Rose said. "He was lucky - it could have been much worse."

Wright was not injured in the fire. He was unavailable for comment.

How to dispose of hot coals and ashes

--Use thick gloves, preferably Nomex or Kevlar, while scooping and transporting the hot ashes;

--Use a non-combustible container to transport the ashes outside. Never use wood or cardboard boxes;

--Have a secure, non-combustible container to store the hot coals and ashes away from any structures, vegetation or combustibles;

--Don't leave smoldering embers indoors. They give off carbon monoxide vapors, which take the place of oxygen in confined spaces;

--Remember, hot embers can remain hot for days when in a large pile.

"This might also be a great time to check your smoke detectors, and call your local fire department if you have any questions," advises Payson Fire Chief John Ross.

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