Stray Cigarette Sparks Apartment Fire

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Authorities say careless smoking started a structure fire in Colorado Springs Sunday afternoon.

According to the Colorado Springs Fire Department, a stray cigarette started a fire at an apartment building on Split Rock Drive, near Wilson Ranch Park on the northwest side of Colorado Springs. The fire started just outside the building, on a patio behind one of the units.

11 News talked to the man who lives inside the home with his brother.

Matthew Maynard told 11 News they had just moved in four days ago. Already they’re forced to stay somewhere else.

He said he can’t believe something like this happened, but he also knows how lucky he is, adding that it could've been a lot worse.

"The windows exploded and smoke just poured in, so we ran out," Maynard said.

Maynard was home with his brother when he started to smell smoke from his upstairs bedroom. It was coming from the patio. He said he first called 911, then quickly took action.

"The couch was on fire [and] we pushed it all back to just get it [outside] so it wouldn't burn the whole house down...we heard a loud pop and just hot melting plastic shot all over me," Maynard recalled.

Maynard has minor injuries from the fire, including burns on his leg and a cut on his hand.

Firefighters said a stray cigarette butt or embers are to blame for this fire. The couch where the fire started was no longer visible in the burnt mess behind his apartment.

"I'm just happy that we were able to do it as fast as we did and lost minimal things...hopefully insurance covers and fixes all the other stuff, and hopefully we can get back in," Maynard said.

No one was cited or ticketed because it's unclear where the cigarette came from. Firefighters say it's a scary reminder of what can happen when people aren't careful.