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Hot embers in outside bucket sparked Ross home fire

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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Smoldering embers in an ash bucket started a fire that severely damaged a family of four's home in Ross last week, a fire marshal said on Wednesday.

No one was hurt in the blaze, which started on Friday morning under a deck behind the two-story Lilac Avenue home.

Ross fire Marshal John Reubi said hot ashes from a wood burner in the home were placed in a metal bucket under the steps of the deck on Thursday morning. A southerly wind likely blew sparks or an ember from the bucket into a combustible foam-and-vinyl punching bag near the house. The punching bag and the deck, which was made of a composite material, caught fire. Flames quickly spread behind a sliding glass door between the deck and living room to the rest of the house.

Residents Jeff Heyl and Kim Riddle with children Krissy, 11, and Kevin, 8, escaped safely after a neighbor warned them the house was on fire.

“The hot ashes remain hot for days on end,” Reubi said. “You have to watch what you do with them.”

Reubi said the composite decking material “burned readily.”

The home is insured but likely will be condemned. The cause of the blaze was ruled accidental.

West View Savings Bank established a fund to help the family. Donations made out to Jeff Heyl or Kim Riddle can be mailed to West View Savings, 9001 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, PA 15237, attn: Lori Ross.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or

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