Chipper Jones didn’t realize he had set the woods around his Roswell house on fire until his neighbors knocked on his door to tell him that firefighters were on the way.
“First time I met them, too,” Jones told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
It wasn’t long before a lot more people knew about Jones’ brush fire on Wednesday.
The former star third baseman for the Braves sent out reports and images about the fire to his 350,000-plus followers on Twitter. Later a local television news helicopter hovered over his house to get a look at the damage. Jones sent out a tweet of that commotion, too, on Thursday morning.
He said the fire started about three hours after he had dumped some ashes from his fireplace in the woods. He said he noticed no hot embers or smoldering while cleaning out the fireplace and placed the ashes in a plastic container to carry to the woods.
Jones said he didn’t hear or smell the fire until he was alerted.
“I was shocked when I looked out the window,” he said.
The fire burned an area approximately 30 feet in diameter, according to Roswell Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Piccirilli. He said the flames were doused with one hose from one fire engine with firefighters on the scene for about 45 minutes.
Piccirilli said Jones wouldn’t face charges in connection with the fire.
Jones said he’s learned a lesson from the incident.
“It was a little bit of a wake-up call,” Jones said. “You bet your rear end the next time I dump those ashes, I’ll dump some water on top of them.”
Piccirilli said ashes from fireplaces or grills can stay hot for two or three days after they’ve burned.
“Please place hot ashes in a metal can away from combustibles, including landscaping, boxes and of course, your home,” Piccirilli said. “The best place for ashes is in the metal can on your driveway or other concrete surface.”
Perhaps there is a positive to come from the incident: Jones finally got to meet his neighbors. He said they chatted about feeding the same deer that roam near their properties.
“I’d always meant to stop by and say hey and just never did,” Jones said. “Never thought that them calling the fire department would be the first time.”