On the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 10, I smelled some vague burning scent around the front door of my house. The wood stove was not burning. What did I smell? Vague.

The sun goes down, and the smell intensifies, and I am getting worried. I call my old friend who is a fire marshal, and he tells me to call for a fire crew now.

I called Lake County dispatch and they said I had to call 911 to get the fire department out here. I live outside of town.

I am not going to sleep with the strange burning smell. So I called 911. The consummate professionals on duty with Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue show up. They smell the burning outside my front door and proceed to use their very cool devices that are made to detect “hot spots”, such as an electrical fire smoldering in a wall. They were so smart and friendly and diligent. Something was burning and they were going to find it. Most excellent. At one point a young firefighter went up to the ash can for the wood stove. I keep the ash can well away from the house but the wind was creating a vortex that sent the burning smell back to my front door. You could stand next to the can and not smell anything. The source seemed to be coming from the house and that was the focus. He lifted the lid off the can and said “whoa!” The source of the burning was discovered.

So, the farrier had been out to pull my horse’s shoes the week before and my husband threw the leftover hoof debris into the ash can. The dogs love to eat the little pieces of hoof and come inside and throw them up. Yuk. We always gather the hoof and throw it out.

Those hooves had been smoldering in the ash for days and only reached a point where it could be smelled nine days later. I think the fire fighter’s device said the ash was 350 degrees! Apparently smoldering horse hooves smell like an electrical fire. This was a “new one” to the fire crew. They were focused on the structure. Electrical burning smell. My old house. Horse hoof? O.K.

Thank you firefighters for doing an exemplary job of using your cool devices to find a potential hot spot only to discover smoldering horse hoof in the metal ash can. Do not ever put anything your ash can but ashes!

Rest assured that the Fire Department will show up and figure it out when you are nervous about that “smell”.

Ashes only in the ash can. Not even a few little pieces of horse hoof. Thank you Lake County Dispatch and Fire. Also Sheriff’s Deputy Caleb who was there and was great, too. An all around positive thing.

Therese Rocamora

Lake County

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