Careless Smoking Causes Destructive House Fire

An incident of careless smoking displaced a family of five after the cigarette ignited a fire.

Thursday, firefighters with the Colorado Springs Fire Department were sent to a home on 3060 E. Whileaway Circle after neighbors heard smoke alarms sounding, saw smoke coming from the home and called 911. No one in the family was home at the time.

The first CSFD engine arrived within four minutes to see heavy smoke and flames coming from the front and back of the home. The main body of the fire was knocked down within ten minutes of firefighters being on scene. No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Fire investigators determined careless smoking started the fire inadvertently, beginning outside the home with flames eventually spreading to the house.

The property/content loss is estimated at $171,296 and the property/content saved is estimated at $68,514.

CSFD has released some tips to help smokers better prevent incidents like this. Smoking is the number one cause of home fire deaths in the United States. About 1,000 people are killed every year in their homes by fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials.

• If you or someone in your family smokes, Put It Out. All the Way. Every Time.
• Smoking fires are especially dangerous since the victims are closer to the source of the fire, thus they are harder to save.
• Most smoking fires start on beds, furniture, or in trash. Many smoking related fire deaths are caused by the victim falling asleep while smoking.
• According to the USFA, 25% of people killed in smoking related fires are not the actual smokers themselves; 34% of these victims were the children of the smokers; and 25% were neighbors or friends of the smokers.

These fires can be prevented by taking a few simple measures such as:
• Using ashtrays with a wide and stable base. If it wobbles, it won’t work.
• If you do smoke, smoke outside but NEVER put your cigarette out in dried flower pots or shrubs.
• Put out cigarettes in an ashtray or can filled with sand.
• Check for cigarette butts under sofa cushions and on and behind furniture.
• Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
• Use fire-safe cigarettes that are less likely to cause fires.
• Make sure your cigarette is fully out, especially if you are drowsy due to medicine or alcohol.
• The most important thing to remember is to make sure the cigarette is fully extinguished.
• Run ashes and butts under water before throwing them away.
• Put It Out. All the Way. Every Time.