Madison Fire officials warn of cigarette-related fires

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Published: May. 21, 2023 at 4:14 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Fire Department is reminding residents how to properly discard cigarettes after two smoking-related fires last Thursday.

Madison Fire officials responded to two separate fires Thursday, both of which were caused by improper disposal of cigarettes.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to 4322 Melody Lane after a report of a smoke-filled home and a burning ashtray. According to MFD, the tenant was smoking on her balcony before she discarded the cigarette in a plastic container she used as an ashtray.

The tenant left for nearly two hours, and upon her return, noticed charring on the outside of the building. She put out the fire before crews arrived but was temporarily displaced from her home due to the damage.

At around 11 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to 9321 Glencoe Drive for an apartment deck fire. Officials determined the fire started in a plastic planter full of old cigarette butts. The fire did not spread past the planter box, according to the fire department.

MFD is emphasizing how smoking-related fires can spread quickly if cigarettes ignite building siding and other flammable materials, especially if there are no automatic fire sprinklers in the area. Fire officials are encouraging residents to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Dispose of cigarettes in a non-flammable container, such as an ashtray or metal coffee canister.
  • Put cigarettes out completely by pouring water on the ashes and butts.
  • Empty ashtrays frequently to avoid butts piling up and catching on fire.

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