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Fire Gutted Wayne Home on Christmas Night

Police said hot ashes seemed to be cause of Beechwood Drive blaze.

A Beechwood Drive home was deemed uninhabitable after a fire completely gutted the house Tuesday night.

One firefighter was transported to Chilton Hospital with an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure after battling the blaze. He was released later Tuesday.

According to Wayne Police Capt. Mark McGrath, the fire appeared to have started on the back deck where a plastic bucket of hot ashes seemed to catch on fire and ignite the home. McGrath said the homeowner told police he had cleaned the ashes from the home's fireplace and put them in the bucket, but that he had watered the ashes before placing them outside. The homeowner also told police that there was no fire or signs of smoke when he and his family left the home to visit relatives for Christmas, McGrath said.

But police received a call for the fire at 5:42 p.m. and when they responded to the scene, the home was fully engulfed in flames. No people were inside the home at the time of the fire, McGrath said.

"The homeowners were not at home and that information was not immediately known. It did take a little bit of time to confirm that they were not home," McGrath said.

McGath said the fire was so intense that determining if the homeowners were inside became a challenge.

"The fire conditions were so severe, no one was able to enter the house to see if anyone was home," he said.

At one point, fire officials were also concerned that a pet may have been in the burning home, but McGrath said it was later confirmed that no pets were injured. With the exception of the firefighter, no people were injured and no other property damage was sustained.

Within about 45 minutes, McGrath said the fire was under control, although fire officials and police remained on the scene for about three hours clearing the scene. 

The home has been deemed uninhabitable and McGrath said he is unsure whether the structure will need to be knocked down.

Ruby Stanfield December 27, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Thank you Scondo Our community has been wonderful.
Nose Wayne December 28, 2012 at 01:58 AM
People of Wayne should be proud that we have so many VOLUNTEERS that stopped what they were doing on Christmas and helped a neighbor in need. Please help out the family that lost everything in the fire by going to Ruby's web site at Ruby@Ruby Travel.com and give what you can.This is why Wayne is such a great town to live in..
Ruby Stanfield December 28, 2012 at 04:07 AM
Thank you Nose! I would also like to thank the fire fighters and EMT's for their hard work with putting out the fire and the compassion they had to the Schweighardt family. They were wonderful!
wayne resident December 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Been on the department for 25 yrs and have seen this mistake made to many times. Fire place ashes stay hot for days after the fire has been put out. The only container for ash is a metal can. The metal can should be away from the structure. Why? Because even with the ash in a metal can wind can stir up the ash and if the container is up against the home quess what? Now the siding which is made of fuels has begun to melt and the fire begins.. Have chimneys checked and cleaned and make sure dampers are open before staring any fire. Have tools, fire gloves, maybe a small metal can near by the fireplace in case of an accident. Only burn 1 dura flame log at a time. These logs are compressed fuel which burn very hot. Never hesitate to call 911. Time will save lives as well as property. Have a healthy and fire safe new year..
Donn Travers Easton January 31, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Safety first in every aspect of life.

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