Ashes, not arson, suspected in fire

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— A pile of hot ashes from a wood-burning stove are to blame for a fire that caused minor damage to a home west of Steamboat Springs on Monday.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Bob Struble said the fire began at about 1 p.m. at a house on West U.S. Highway 40 near the Routt County Sheriff's Office. Hot ashes apparently ignited trash that was leaning against the home, and then the fire spread to the home's roof.

"Like a lot of old houses in this area, the roof is wood shingle but had been covered by tin," Struble said. "The wood under the tin was burning."

The fire consumed a small portion of the house's roof.

Firefighters cut a small hole in one of the home's walls to salvage furniture.

Struble said one person was home at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported.

"I think it was just an accident," Struble said. "Someone had put some hot ashes from a wood stove into a trashcan that he thought were cold, and that's the end."

Firefighters returned to the home about two hours later after a hot spot began smoking again. The smoke was quickly extinguished and firefighters were able to patch the hole in the home's roof enough for the residents to spend Monday night at the house.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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