SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Bark mulch is used in gardens and landscaping, but it has also been linked to some major house fires recently.
State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says that there have been many fires across the Commonwealth started by people dropping cigarettes in mulch. That is what happened at 30 Helen Drive in Southampton late Monday night. Workers at the home had put out a small mulch fire earlier in the day with a garden hose, but after a couple hours, the embers flared up and the fire spread to the house.
The family got out alive, but all that is left is debris, and a small pile of their belongings.
There are regulations regarding mulch meant to keep this from happening.
“Mostly, just if you keep it 18 inches away from any part of your home that can burn, that will keep you safe,” Southampton Fire Chief John Workman said.
Mulch is shredded bark and can be easily ignited by improperly discarded cigarette, especially when it’s dry outside and the mulch is piled more than a few inches deep.
The problem with mulch fires is that by the time anyone notices, it can be too late.
Even if you believe you have extinguished the flames, make sure you call your fire department just to be sure.