Fire marshal: Wood stove ashes put in plastic container started blaze

The fire that badly damaged a small house in Shelton near the Housatonic River on Wednesday night was caused by wood stove ashes left outdoors, next to the structure.

"The occupant had cleaned out the wood stove and put the ashes in a plastic container, which was placed outside against the screened porch,” said Shelton Fire Marshal James Tortora.

The occupant then left the house and within a few hours, the smoldering ashes ignited the blaze, said Tortora, who was the first fire official to arrive at the scene around 8 p.m.

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Click below to see more photos of the damaged house:


The porch is on the waterfront side on the small house at 143 Indian Well Road, and that is where the most severe damage was done to the structure.

Structure totaled; Dog inside dies

Tortora said the home should be considered destroyed, with the damage to the structure and contents being as much as $200,000.

A dog inside the house died in the fire. No people or firefighters were injured in the blaze. The occupant was renting the home from an owner with a Trumbull address.

The fire is a reminder of the importance of properly handling ashes from fireplaces and wood stoves.

“Always put ashes in a metal container and place them away from the house,” Tortora said.

Click below for information on how to properly handle ashes from fireplaces and wood stoves:

Editor’s Note: The fire-damaged house is at 143 Indian Well Road. It had been incorrectly identified as 145 Indian Well Road in the past; we regret the error and any confusion it may have caused.