Smouldering ashes from an open fire were the cause of a blaze which damaged a village home, the fire service has said.
Six fire crews from across West Sussex were called to tackle a fire at a 30m by 15m home in Sparks Lane, Cuckfield, on Sunday, February 14.
Three hose reels, two water jets and ten breathing apparatus were used to fight the flames, which broke out at 2pm and raged for more than five hours.
A spokesman for the fire service said: “The investigation concluded the fire was a result of careless disposal of ashes from an open fire.
“The owner said they had left the ashes to cool for 24 hours then put them into a bin. They then smouldered and caught fire.”
The spokesman added the bin was next to a gas pipe which caught fire and caused the flames to spread.
Engineers from SGN, which is responsible for gas networks in the south, were called to help firefighters.
The company said: “Our engineers worked alongside the fire service to isolate the gas supply to the property.
“The gas supply was isolated at approximately 6.20pm.”
The fire was extinguished by 7.15pm.
Ten per cent of both the ground floor and first floor were damaged by heat.
30 per cent of the ground floor was damaged by smoke, while the smoke also damaged 50 per cent of the first floor.
No-one was in the building at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported.
Firefighters have warned those with open fires to make sure ashes are properly cooled before disposing of them.
They also asked home owners to check their smoke detectors, as the property did not have one installed.
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