FAIRFIELD - Fairfield fire officials are urging residents to use caution when dealing with fireplace embers in light of the two fires that were caused by them in southwestern Connecticut, including one fire that killed five people.

Officials say the Christmas Day fire in Stamford that left five people dead, including three young children, and Monday's fire in Greenwich were both caused by fireplace embers being improperly disposed of.

Fairfield Assistant Fire Chief Chris Tracey says the best bet is to leave embers in the fireplace for at least two days.

He says if you must take embers out of the fireplace before then, place them in a metal bucket and then place it outside at least 3 feet away from your home.

He adds that keeping the chimney clean is also important to prevent chimney fires.

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