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Fire pit ashes ignite plastic container, cause $15K in estimated damage

Posted at 7:11 PM, Mar 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-19 20:11:15-04

DE PERE (NBC 26) — The first day of spring brought an unwelcome sight to a De Pere neighborhood — the wall of a home on fire.

  • De Pere Fire Rescue responded to the fire just after 8 a.m. Tuesday
  • No one was home at the time, but an off-duty firefighter rescued a dog
  • The department said the fire began because ashes from a recreational fire the previous night were not fully completely extinguished
  • Battalion chief Brett Jansen said the beginning of recreational fire season is upon us, and that people should take precautions
  • Video shows the charred fire pit

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

De Pere Fire says the embers burned all night — and then caused thousands of dollars in damage. We have a cautionary tale about bonfires.

De Pere Fire Rescue responded to this home Tuesday morning. Firefighters say the fire damaged the back wall, an outlet, and a window.

Firefighters rescued a dog from inside the house — but no one else was home.

They say the fire started after someone placed embers in a plastic trash can.

Battalion Chief Brett Jansen says we're entering recreational fire season — and people need to be careful to avoid incidents like this.

"When you do have recreational fires, make sure your fire pit is far enough away from your house," Jansen said. "We recommend 15 feet. No combustibles like trees and other wood that's around that can start a fire. And then when you're done with your campfire or recreational fire, make sure you put it out right away."

De Pere Fire Rescue also recommends letting ashes cool for a few days before transferring them to a metal container.