Remembering May 20th, 5 years later
Temperatures to climb back up over the next few days

“Nobody thinks this could ever happen,” Potted plant to blame for deck fire

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. – A family in Virginia is warning others after they say a freak accident almost took away their home.

“Nobody thinks this could ever happen, but it did,” Brad Jordan told WHSV. “We never thought it could and it almost burned our house down.”

Last week, the family’s 13-year-old son looked out his window and spotted smoke. Immediately, the family rushed to find their deck and vinyl siding on fire.

Fortunately, they were able to put the fire out before it consumed their home.

At first, Jordan says he had no idea what could have caused the blaze but soon learned that his potted plant was to blame.

Fire officials ruled that the potting soil spontaneously combusted inside a plastic pot.

“It is still an organic material and it’s going to go through a natural breakdown process and generate heat,” said Capt. Joe Mullens, with Rockingham County Fire and Rescue. “When you allow it to dry out, and it hits a certain low moisture content, it will spontaneously combust.”

Officials say you should plant flowers in clay pots, replace old mulch and keep the soil wet in order to prevent fires.

Firefighters also warn against leaving cigarette butts in potted plants, which can also cause the peat moss in the potting soil to catch fire.