4 displaced in fire at Va. Beach home

WAVY/LaVoy Harrell

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Four people were displaced Monday from a fire at a large home in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach fire officials tell WAVY.com the fire was reported around 5:05 a.m. at a 5,000-square-foot house on North Inlynnview Road.

PHOTOS: Va. Beach home damaged in fire

Officials say the fire started outside the home. The fire was under control shortly before 5:40 a.m. There was extensive damage to the room over the garage.

The parents, their two children and their pets were all able to make it out of the house safely.

Officials determined after talking with the residents and inspecting the damage that the fire is believed to have been caused by fireplace ashes that were discarded in a plastic trash can outside the back of the house. The fire has been ruled accidental.

Julie Cole lives in the neighborhood and had just recently moved to the area. She said she awoken Monday to what she described as a “howling” noise.

“As I walked down closer … I saw the flames, and I just immediately thought, ‘oh my gosh, the family’s in there,” Cole said.

Firefighters stayed on scene for several hours, making sure they extinguished any remaining hot spots. At least a dozen firefighters responded to the scene Monday morning.

Between Nov. 1, 2015 and March 31, 2015, four residential fires were reported in Virginia Beach — all of which started from carelessly discarded fireplace ashes, fire officials say.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department wants to remind home owners that fireplace ashes should be kept in a metallic container and stored outside, away from the house and other flammable materials. Never dump fireplace ashes until they have had at least four days to cool. Ashes should be wet before they’re disposed, too. Even then, be careful when selecting a dump site.