The fire that damaged most of a North Carson City home Saturday night was caused by fireplace ashes discarded in a plastic garbage bin, Fire Chief Stacey Giomi said Monday.
The family of four living in the home escaped without injury when the blaze started shortly before 10 p.m. on Saturday.
"It's an unfortunate message that people can learn from," said Giomi, adding the fire department responds to at least two house fires each year caused by improperly discarded ashes. "Fireplace ashes can stay warm enough to start a fire for up to a week under the right conditions."
The proper way to discard ashes from a fireplace, Giomi said, is to place them into a metal bin and douse them with water outside and away from anything combustible, such as a wooden patio.
He said the family enjoyed a Christmas Day fire in their fireplace, and on Saturday the ashes were placed into a plastic shopping bag and discarded in a plastic garbage bin inside the garage.
The contents in the garbage bin caught fire, igniting the garage and destroying two cars and 40 percent to 60 percent of the home at 1844 Chaise Dr.
Giomi said the fire was an accident and estimated the damage at $200,000.
Witnesses reported hearing explosions during the fire.
Giomi said the family recently had gone camping and kept some small propane canisters in their garage, which combusted in the blaze.