Fire department says recent fires involving cigarettes have displaced more than 80

burnt cigarette butts
Courtesy of the Madison Fire Department
The Madison Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Team located hundreds of cigarette butts and a burned-up plastic pail where they had been discarded. The smoking materials caused a home fire that displaced two on the east side.

MADISON, Wis. — Some recent fires with the common link of cigarettes have left more than 80 people in the community without a home.

A release said Madison Fire Department has responded to at least six fires suspected or determined to be caused by improperly discarded smoking materials since February.

The fires caused nearly $3 million in property loss. There have not been injuries or fatalities from the fires, but Madison fire wanted to draw attention to the trend to prevent more fires like these.

One of the incidents happened April 18 when a two-alarm fire started after improperly discarded smoking materials ignited in a clay flower pot. Wind gusts over 35 miles per hour fueled the fire and a high number of cigarette butts contributed to the fire. More than 70 people were displaced.

Muir Field Road Fire

Courtesy of Madison Fire Department

Another incident happened in February as seven renters were displaced due to a fire started by an overflowing ashtray on a wooden porch.

Madison Fire suggests making sure cigarette butts are all the way out and regularly emptying receptacles to prevent fires. Firefighters remind residents to discard cigarettes in a container that won’t catch on fire like approved ashtrays, metal coffee canisters or a bucket with sand.

Firefighters also suggest getting renters insurance. Of the 80 renters displaced from homes, only six had insurance. Insurance can help renters pay for temporary housing accommodations and replace damaged possessions.

If you’re looking to quit smoking, contact the Wisconsin Tobacco QuitLine for resources, coaching and tips at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit ctri.wisc.edu/quit-line.

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