Charcoal Reignites, Destroys Home and Vehicles in Overnight Fire

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - 6:56am

Fire investigators have determined that an overnight house fire in East El Paso originated in a trash can under the carport.

The fire started shortly before 11:30 p.m. Monday on Deepwood Ct. 

A couple inside escaped safely after a neighbor alerted them that their house was on fire.  Rosemary St. Lo, a neighbor, rushed to alert the entire neighborhood.

"When I came out, the flames were way high! So Bobby (neighbor) and I started banging on everybody's door, and getting them up and out of the house," she said.

According to investigators, the homeowners had thrown charcoal from a weekend barbeque into the plastic trash can.  Investigators said the coals likely did not completely cool and reignited, sparking the fire.

Lt. Frank Guillen with the El Paso Fire Department said it is very important to properly dispose of charcoal.

"During the summer time, there are a lot of people using charcoal.  If you are going to be using charcoal, we highly recommend that you dispose of it properly, perhaps in a metal container, and soaking them with water overnight to make sure that they're completely extinguished before disposing of them," said Guillen.

The flames spread to the home's attic, and also to a neighbor's storage shed.  Firefighters were able to control the blaze before it spread any further.

Two vehicles that were parked in the carport were also completely charred.

Damages are estimated at $150,000.

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