An improperly butted-out cigarette caused a balcony fire in northeast Calgary on Wednesday, according to the fire department.
Crews responded to several 911 calls about smoke and flames emerging from the second-floor balcony of a building in the 300 block of Skyview Ranch Drive N.E. at around 1:20 p.m.
Firefighters evacuated the suite and used a ladder to access the balcony to extinguish the fire, according to the Calgary Fire Department.
The damage was limited to siding, with “minimal smoke getting inside,” the CFD said.
No injuries were reported, and once ventilation was done, residents were allowed back inside.
“The cause of the fire was determined to be smoking material put in a planter pot, which smouldered and eventually ignited,” the CFD said in a news release.
“The fire grew to a point where it cracked the balcony window and drew the attention of some workers and residents in the area.”
Where there are smoking materials, there can be fire
In 2018, the improper disposal of smoking materials in outdoor planters was responsible for 38 fires — eight of which caused damage greater than $100,000.
“In 2018, tragically, there were five fatalities attributed to the improper disposal of smoking material,” said Carol Henke, CFD public information officer, adding that 2019 stats will be out in the new year.
She wants to remind people that yes, fires can happen when it’s cold out.
“Although not as common, outdoor smoking-related fires can and do happen during the winter months and can be as devastating as those that occur during the warmer seasons,” Henke said.
The CFD offered tips to avoid smoking-related blazes:
- Always dispose of cigarette butts in a deep, wide, sturdy metal container that is filled partway with sand or water and has a lid. Empty regularly.
- Avoid smoking in bed or while high or drunk.
- Ensure all butts and ash are out by dousing them with water before putting them in the trash.