Updated 4:39 p.m.
Fire crews said the house fire in the 1000 block of Camellia Avenue this morning was caused accidentally by still-hot ash from a wood stove being dumped into a trash can.
“They were still warm enough to where they smoldered for quite awhile,” said fire inspector Derek Zwagerman. “It’s like a cigarette causing a fire.”
A smoke alarm did not go off in the home because it did not have a battery in it. Zwagerman cautioned homeowners to make sure batteries are changed out regularly.
“A working smoke alarm is critical,” Zwagerman said. “It could have been a lot worse.”
A house fire reported at 4:17 a.m. today in the 1000 block of Camellia Avenue in Medford burned through the attic and garage and caused damage to parts of the structure's exterior.
Fire officials said the homeowner and her three children awoke to heavy smoke in the home and called 911. Five engines and 20 personnel from Medford Fire-Rescue responded and knocked the blaze down in about 10 minutes.
Medford police and fire crews both responded to the fire. When they arrived on scene, everyone had already made it outside. (Correction: see below)
"The occupants were safe and sound," said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police.
Nearby residences were evacuated during firefighting efforts, but the fire did not spread. No one was hurt.
Damage estimates were unavailable. Fire investigators will be back on scene later today to investigate the cause. The occupants are staying with a family friend and do have insurance, Medford Fire-Rescue battalion Erin Sawall said.
— Ryan Pfeil
Correction: This version of the story has been updated