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Cigarettes start two fires in one week

In warm weather months, fires caused by improperly extinguished cigarettes are more common than in winter. Spring must be arriving, though, because the Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to two fires in the past week caused by cigarettes.

The first was reported at 3:41 a.m. Feb. 28 in the 9900 block of East Baldwin Avenue. The residents had put cigarettes in a planter box, which caught fire. The flames were contained quickly and there was only minor damage to the home’s siding and a window, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford.

The second fire was reported just after 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Alki Court Apartments at 12112 E. Alki Ave. A resident had been putting cigarettes in a combustible container on the balcony, Clifford said. “This one here could have gotten a lot bigger if no one had seen the black smoke from the siding burning,” he said.

The fire caused about $2,500 in damage. The number of fires caused by candles seems to be dropping, Clifford said, but apparently people aren’t hearing the safety messages about the proper disposal of cigarettes.

Crews responded to 233 calls from Feb. 28 to March 6 and most were minor. There were several vehicle fires reported and in one case two people were treated for smoke inhalation after they tried to put the fire out on their own.

There were 14 car accidents reported, and three people needed hospital care. Crews responded to 189 emergency medical service calls, plus calls for a child locked inside a car and residents locked outside of their homes.

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