Officials are urging New Canaan homeowners to ensure the ash pits below their fireplaces are emptied regularly and safely—as well as installed properly—following a house fire last week on Brooks Road that was ignited due to improper design. Fire officials responded on the afternoon of March 2 to a two-alarm fire at a Brooks Road home. It had been ignited in a crawl space below a hearth extension for the fireplace in the living room, according to Fire Marshal Paul Payne. “What had happened, the fireplace had an ash dump in the fire box and the ashes dumped down below the chimney into the foundation area, which was exterior to the house,” Payne told members of the Fire Commission during their regular meeting Tuesday night. “Well, the smoke and the fire was in the crawl space and when I got in there with the guys, they were just finishing up,” he said during the meeting, held via videoconference.