Cigarette butts cause seven fires in Langford, including one next to apartment building

Cigarette butts cause seven fires in Langford, including one next to apartment building
Langford Fire Rescue/Twitter
Langford Fire Rescue responded to seven fires that were sparked by cigarette butts over seven days.

Cigarette butts have been keeping the Langford Fire Department busy, after crews attended seven fires in seven days.

All due to people improperly throwing away their cigarette butts, according to Chief Simon Chadwick, acting assistant chief of fire prevention with the Langford Fire Department.

“Quite alarming in the fact that it’s been a dry weekend and we’ve had seven fires, that were all preventable, due to smoking,” Chadwick said.

A cigarette butt put into a planter on a balcony resulted in on fire that could have been much worse.

“Using a plant pot as an ashtray and they were lucky it actually caught fire to the chair but the crews got there pretty quick and sorted it out. It could have been catastrophic, for sure,” Chadwick said.

The Langford Fire Department issued the reminder on Twitter, calling on smokers to ensure their cigarette butts and smoking materials are properly disposed of.

“As a reminder, gardens, planters, flower pots, combustible containers, etc are for plants, trees, flowers and NOT cigarette butts,” the Twitter post says.

One of those seven fires started just outside Larry Jeffrey’s apartment.

“It’s about six feet away and if that would have caught the fence on fire, hell would have paid. I couldn’t believe somebody so stupid just to throw a cigarette butt into that,” Jeffrey said.

He woke up at 6 a.m. to see flames coming from this patch of garden.

With no exterior hose, Jeffrey started filling pots with water from his kitchen.

But it grew too quickly.

“It was four feet of fire. I was running back and forth like a wild man because I don’t have a hose. So all I could do was get buckets, and pots, and pans. I was throwing on it,” Jeffrey said.

This fire a result of someone throwing their cigarette butt from an upper apartment onto the ground.

“I’m shocked. Because we are not allowed to smoke in here. And I don’t disagree with that because I don’t smoke. But a few glasses of wine, and a few cigarettes, and that’s what happened,” Jeffrey said.

With the weekend forecast predicting warmer temperatures again, the Langford Fire department is offering free pocket ashtrays to the public to reduce the risk.

“All we can do is encourage people not to disregard cigarettes, and throw them to the side. Make sure they are butt out properly,” Chadwick said.

The pocket ashtrays are available at the main, and neighbouring, fire halls.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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