The Calgary Fire Department confirmed Wednesday that two separate house fires that claimed the lives of two elderly people in December could have been avoided.
On Dec. 14 2018, the fire crews were called to a home in the 2200 block of 9 Avenue N.W. for reports of a fire. A woman in her 70s who was found inside died as a result of the blaze.
Ten days later, on Christmas Eve, fire crews responded to another fire in the community of Marlborough Park. A 71-year-old man was found inside the home and treated at the scene by EMS but he died of his injuries.
Investigators determined in both cases, the fires were caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials, CFD spokesperson Carol Henke said. Henke reminded Calgarians about the importance of fire prevention when it comes to smoking materials, which have been the starter of several fires throughout the city in the past year.
Fire prevention safety tips
- Never put out cigarettes or smoking materials in plant pots, peat moss, your lawn or garden
- Whether smoking inside or outside, use a deep, wide, sturdy metal container with a lid, filled part way with sand or water that should be emptied regularly. Place ashtrays away from anything that can burn
- Avoid smoking in bed or when tired or impaired
- Ensure all butts and ash are out by dousing with water prior to putting in the trash
- Test your smoke alarms monthly, change batteries annually and replace them every 10 years
- Always plan two ways out
- Immediately call 911 to report a fire