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Friday, August 5, 2011

Garage Fire Causes $200,000 in Damage

Milford firefighters extinguished a fire in a detached garage on Westbrook Street Friday, which left an estimated $20,000 in damage.

The fire destroyed the garage structure, and melted a portion of a fence and two vehicles parked in the driveway, said Milford Fire Chief John Touhey.

No one was injured in the blaze, reported about 2:20 p.m. The homeowner told fire officials he had deposited ash, from a fire in a pit the previous night, in a plastic garbage can.

The fire was sparked by the ash catching something combustible, said Touhey, who said it's not an uncommon problem.

Fires can be sparked for two days by ash, because the cool ash on top often provides a protective layer for hot ash that remains underneath, Touhey said. The Fire Department recommends people discard ash into metal containers, and store it away from structures.

Chris Maccagnano, the homeowner, said he was cleaning the garage Friday afternoon, and decided to toss the ash from the fire pit, which had been lit and extinguished the previous night. He said he put it in a container in the garage, and went back in to the house.

"Thirty minutes later, chaos."

The heat from the fire melted the front portion of two cars parked side-by-side in the driveway, Touhey said, damaged a plastic fence that ran alongside the garage, and also damaged a neighbor's garage. The fire was fully involved when firefighters arrived, he said, and took about 10 minutes to extinguish.

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