Careless smoking to blame for 3 structure fires in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - During an incredibly dry period, careless smoking has been blamed for three structure fires in just three days in Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department is hoping to spread awareness when it comes to properly disposing of cigarettes. Careless smoking and "disposal of hot smoking materials" was the reason for three structure fires over the weekend.

“Things are so dry here, that even hot ashes falling from the tip of a cigarette can potentially ignite the dry grasses,” stated Ralph Mangan, CSFD fire investigator.

Colorado Springs firefighters made quick work of one of those fires just outside an apartment Friday evening.

The fire happened at the Vineyard Apartments near East Woodmen Road and Rangewood Drive in the northeast part of the city. Firefighters were able to stop the fire before it entered the building.

Investigators say the patio blaze was started after a cigarette butt was improperly disposed.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department says people need to be extremely cautious when smoking outside and reminded to dispose of cigarettes in an ashtray, metal can or pail. A careless butt discarded in vegetation, potted plants, landscaping, peat moss, mulch, or other similar items can smolder and easily catch fire and endanger lives and property as in the three fires this weekend.

Click here for more smoking safety information.