A discarded cigarette led to a fire and evacuation of an apartment building Monday night in Columbus.
According to the Columbus Fire Department, firefighters were called to the Canterbury Place Apartments on Nicholas Lane at about 9:43 p.m. Monday night on reports of a fire on a balcony. They found fire on the outside of a second-story apartment. Columbus police officers were already on scene, alerting residents and aiding evacuation efforts.
Firefighters went to the apartment with a fire hose and found no fire inside. They extinguished the fire on the balcony within moments of stepping onto the balcony. After it was out, they pulled down a part of the balcony ceiling and wall to make sure the fire had not extended into the attic or interior walls.
A witness said that a family member had been smoking a cigarette on the balcony, and discarded it into a cardboard box containing old cigarette butts. Investigators say that the cardboard box had been completely burned away, leaving only the cigarette butts behind. Investigators ruled the fire was accidental as a result of improper cigarette disposal.
Capt. Troy Todd, Columbus Fire Department Fire Investigator, said “this type of fire is easily preventable if proper disposal takes place.” The fire department says that should include a noncombustible container which is periodically emptied to remove flammable material. You should also douse your discarded cigarettes with water.
Damages are estimated at about $5,000.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department