Hot fireplace ashes likely sparked duplex blaze

November 14, 2013 

— A two-alarm fire that destroyed a duplex on Landmark Street early Thursday morning likely started when hot ashes were placed in a cardboard box in the garage, Boise Fire Battalion Chief Jim Gross said.

The blaze started shortly after midnight Thursday. Firefighters arrived on scene to see the duplex’s three-car garage fully engulfed in flames. The fire had already spread to the house, Gross said.

“Until we got the garage under control, we weren’t able to enter the house portion,” he said.

The woman who lived in one side of the duplex and her two daughters were able to get out safely. The residents of the other side of the duplex were away on vacation.

The unit belonging to the people on vacation was the most seriously damaged, Gross said, although neither side of the duplex is livable.

“They’re just going to have to start over,” he said. “It was pretty bad.”

The fire picked up when it reached a barbecue grill with a 5-gallon propane tank on a patio near the home.

Six engines and two ladder trucks worked to battle the two-alarm fire, but firefighters were unable to save the duplex.

“It was pretty spectacular — there were flames visible from a mile away,” Gross said.

The families likely lost the entirety of their possessions in the blaze. Gross said Boise Fire’s Burnout Fund and the Red Cross will help the residents with some of their immediate needs.

The woman and two girls who were home have family in town they plan to stay with, he said.

Although an investigation is not complete, Gross thinks the fire started after the woman cleaned out her fireplace and left the warm ashes in a box in the garage.

“That was the area of origin, so our investigator was pretty confident that was what started it,” he said.

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