LUCKILY IT was Friday the 14th and not the 13th when Bruce McNicol and Lisa Bartholomew received the news that their woodshed caught fire while they were away down south.
Vigilant neighbours and a quick response from the Deloraine Fire Brigade meant that the fire was quickly under control with no one hurt and only some damage to two properties in Beefeater Street.
The next morning, after a brief flare up, investigation into the cause of the fire found that ash from a fire had reignited, despite being left outside in the cold and damp.
Bruce explained that despite always carefully disposing of ash, in this instance the ash had been mistakenly put on top of older, damp boxes of ash.
The ash had started to smoulder, the boxes caught fire and spread to kindling and other flammable material in the wood shed, then to the fence and the next door property.
Deloraine Fire Brigade had responded immediately, thanks to numerous call-ins by neighbours.
Daniel Watson from the brigade noted that the fire truck was already being prepped for a joint training night and the fire was only a short distance away.
Bruce and his partner Lisa Bartholomew were lucky to only lose a woodshed and part of the adjoining fence, although the fire did burn most of the ivy off the brick walls of their house.
The property next door suffered damage to the back corner of the main weatherboard building, with damage and charring extending up to the rafters on their lean-to.
Bruce and Daniel both stressed that careful disposal of ash from fire places, stoves, fire pits or bonfires is of paramount importance on any property.
Even in the middle of a cold and wet winter, ash will retain its heat and can re-ignite if it is in contact with other combustible material.
Ashes can smoulder for days, so should be stored well away from any flammable material. Placing a metal container with a lid and pouring on water will help to douse any embers.
Cold moist ash can be added to your compost or placed in the garbage if necessary, but be very careful – wheelie bins catch fire!
And if you are planning to go away, check that any ashes are well and truly cold before you go. This might just save your property or your neighbour’s lives.