Fire officials say unsafe disposal of hot ashes are to blame for an Old Town fire that destroyed a house.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office, it was hot ashes from a wood stove that sparked last week's fire. The Stillwater Avenue house was totally destroyed but, luckily, no one was hurt.

Bangor Fire Department's Education Officer Jake Johnson says poor disposal of ashes is one of the main causes of fires in the cold, winter months. People too often put the ashes, that they believe to be cool, in a cardboard box, or up against a structure. But, just because the ashes at the top of the container feel cool, doesn't mean that they're all extinguished.

Johnson advises storing all ashes in a metal container with a tight lid. They should then be placed outside, far away from any buildings, for several days. The lid will prevent the ashes from being blown around outside and will help avoid spillage when carrying them through the house.