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Fire in illegal fire pit destroys garden shed

By: Christina Waldner

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am

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A family in Summerhill is without a garden shed and its contents after failing to properly extinguish a fire in their fire pit on July 10.

Airdrie fire crews were called to the residence on Southcreek Place S.E. around 9 p.m. When they arrived, they found the garden shed completely engulfed in flames. They were able to quickly extinguish the fire but not before the shed and its contents were completely destroyed and nearby shrubbery and a fence were damaged.

The intense heat also caused damage to a significant portion of the vinyl siding on the back of the home.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a failure to completely extinguish the fire in an improperly installed fire pit. According to Deputy Chief Linda Masson, Municipal Enforcement and the City’s Fire Prevention Officer will be meeting to determine what the next step is and how the incident will be handled.

Masson said the fire pit in this case was installed too close to the garden shed.

The City has regulations regarding the proper installation of a fire pit on

Installation guidelines:

• A minimum of three metres clearance (measured from the nearest fire pit edge) must be maintained from buildings, property lines or other combustible material,

• The fire pit height can not exceed 0.6 metres when measured from the surrounding grade to the top of the pit opening,

• The fire pit opening can not exceed one metre in width or diametre when measured between the widest points or outside edges,

• The fire pit must have enclosed sides made from bricks, concrete blocks or heavy gauge metal,

• A spark arrestor mesh screen with openings no larger than 1.25 cm and constructed of expanded metal (or equivalent non-combustible material) must be used to cover the fire pit opening, and

• Clean, untreated wood is the only acceptable burnable material.

As with all structure fires, a full response from the fire department was dispatched, with five pieces of apparatus and 13 firefighters at the scene.

Damage has been estimated at $8000. There were no injuries.

Masson reminds residents of the importance of following the regulations when installing a fire pit.

“The City is one of the few remaining to allow fire pits because of this very risk,” said Masson. “We really ask that people know the requirements and follow them. They are there for these safety reasons.”

More information on fire pits and fire safety are available at


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