Greenwich fire spurs fireplace warning

Greenwich fire officials are warning families to be cautious when lighting fires in fireplaces after a home was damaged Thursday night.

Greenwich fire officials tell News 12 Connecticut that the cold, dry weather led to the flames at a home on John Street after the family started a fire in the fireplace. They say the hot embers coming from the chimney set the wood roof ablaze.

Greenwich firefighters say a concerned passerby called them a little after 9 p.m. to say the roof of the home was on fire. 

Greenwich Fire Chief Peter Siecienski says the family was unaware the there was a fire blazing in the attic. Firefighters say they put out the blaze pretty quickly despite the chilling temperatures.

According to Deputy Fire Marshal Rob Natale, the cold dry night plus the strong winds created the perfect storm.

"Sparks don't normally come out of the fireplace, you know, the hot embers ... it just was a bad recipe for disaster. People should not be afraid to use their fireplace. That's what they're there for," says Natale.

Fire officials want to remind families to be cautious this winter while staying warm by the fire, warning them to make sure embers are out completely.

"Take those hot ashes, let them cool down, and put them in a steel container with a lid and away from the house. No paper, no plastic, that's where we get into trouble," says Natale.

While no one in the house was hurt, the department says two firefighters suffered minor injuries. Officials say both are expected to recover soon. 

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