The improper disposal of ashes is to blame for a fire that forced a family of four out of their Chicopee home Monday morning.
That family embraced with tears in their eyes after their home on Victoria Park caught fire this morning.
The fire department arrived to the sound of smoke alarms and the sights of flames in the attic.
It took an hour of work to put it out for good, but the damage was done.
For the second time in five years, this family is leaving their home behind.
"I'm just grateful they are alive," said Maria Davila.
Davila was relieved to see her daughter, two grandchildren, and niece make it out. She spoke exclusively with Western Mass News and shared how she woke up to her phone ringing and her daughter screaming.
"When she called me, she was devastated, crying. Comfort her, comfort her. Tell her not to give up because right now, she has no faith. She's gone through a lot," Davila noted.
The family will move in with Davila, but sadly, they have been on this path before. A fire in this home five years ago forced them out for months until the home was completely renovated.
"It was much worse. It was electrical and they lost everything," Davila said.
This time, the family was able to grab some of their belongings.
Chicopee Fire Capt. Mark Galarneau told Western Mass News that ashes from the family's pellet stove were not safely thrown away. They were found in a vacuum just outside the home. He wants to warn residents that these ashes could take days to cool off and can ignite if not thrown away in a closed metal container, far from your house.
"Over hours and hours, sometimes just a small smoldering ember can just get bigger," Galarneau explained.
Baystate Restoration will be fixing up the home. They tell us it will need a complete renovation. It will be up to five months before the family can move back in.
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