Coals in garbage set house afire

A fire in west Pasco on Saturday heavily damaged a single-family home. Nobody was injured.

The fire at 1003 Christopher Lane, near North Road 68 and West Court Street, started about 6 p.m. in a garbage can at the side of the house, said Bob Gear, fire chief with the Pasco Fire Department.

Del and Joyce Avery, the owners of the house, had barbecued earlier in the afternoon. When the coals seemingly had cooled off, Del Avery put them into the garbage can, Gear said.

A little later, the Averys smelled smoke while sitting in their living room, Gear said.

The side of the house and the attic was already on fire by then.

Because of the dry and hot conditions, the fire "gained a lot of headway in the attic," Gear said. "It was very involved by the time we got here."

About 20 firefighters spent nearly two hours battling the flames. But they couldn't keep the fire from nearly completely destroying the house.

The family has insurance and a place to stay, Gear said.

"I had (the coals) in my hand," said Del Avery, shaking his head. "They were cold -- I guess not. It's a lesson to be learned for others."