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Garden planter spontaneously catches fire, threatens Idaho home

Garden planter spontaneously catches fire, threatens Idaho home. (KLEW)

LEWISTON, Idaho (KLEW) - A local family is counting their blessings and thanking their neighbors and firefighters after a fire came dangerously close to destroying their home.

It's the cause behind the fire that really surprised the homeowner.

Dorothy Nash and her husband's surveillance cameras caught the fire as it started July 27.

They run a roofing business on Fourth Avenue North in Lewiston.

Their video cameras oversee their property, but they never thought the cameras would catch this.

Nash said, "You can see on the video that it started there and just slowly grew."

But this isn't just their business. It's part of their home. The Nash family has lived next door for 25 years, and last week they came dangerously close to losing it all.

Nash said, "I come running out of the house just in time to see a gentleman from 4J Engel was grabbing my hose to try to fight the fire."

The Nashs' security cameras caught the moment her garden and surrounding bushes ignited last week. But surveillance video didn't just capture the fire. It helped determine the surprising cause.

Nash said, "Spontaneously combusted. That's what the fire investigator also determined from the video."

The fire started in a bucket of fertilizer Nash had grown tomatoes in last year. With the bucket sitting out in temperatures climbing toward 100 degrees at the time of the fire, the seemingly innocent planter turned into a furnace.

Nash said, "That white circle there is what's left of the five-gallon bucket. I never thought in a million years that that pot of fertilizer and soil would ... that would have happened."

Nash's cucumbers, prized zucchini and tomatoes were destroyed. But she's glad that's all that was lost.

Nash said, "The fire department was amazing. I am so grateful to them. They saved the house because the tree right in front of the house had caught on fire. It could have been so much worse."

Nash says she's learned a few important things, like keeping her fertilizer stored out of the heat, and keeping containers well-watered.

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