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Cigarette in potting soil blamed in house fire

A homeowner who tried to extinguish a cigarette in a potted plant is believed to have caused a fire Wednesday morning that destroyed his home and car, according to the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The 2:20 a.m. fire at 11303 E. Jackson Road in the Valley caused an estimated $80,000 in damage, fire spokesman Bill Clifford said.

“Potting soil has chemicals in it that smolder for a long time before they catch fire,” Clifford said. “We’ve seen this happen quite a few times.”

Two people were at the manufactured home during the fire and escaped without injury. But fire crews couldn’t find one of the couple’s two cats, Clifford said. “It took about 50 minutes to contain the fire,” Clifford said. “Firefighters had to pull down the entire ceiling to get at fire in the attic. It’s probably going to be a total loss.”

The resident told fire officials that his fire alarm sounds similar to his doorbell. Thinking someone was continually ringing the doorbell, the man checked his back door. “When he opened the door, he saw flames near the area of the porch light,” Clifford said.

A vehicle in the carport also burned, Clifford said. The Red Cross was called to help the displaced residents, Clifford said.



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