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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Reefer Sadness: Pullman blaze that razed two homes caused by discarded joint

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 12, 2021

Scott Bolyard, left, and his brother, Steve Bolyard, erect a fence around a house burned in Pullman. Fire investigators said Wednesday the fire was started by a discarded marijuana cigarette.  (Geoff Crimmins/For The Spokesman-Review)
Scott Bolyard, left, and his brother, Steve Bolyard, erect a fence around a house burned in Pullman. Fire investigators said Wednesday the fire was started by a discarded marijuana cigarette. (Geoff Crimmins/For The Spokesman-Review)

The embers from a marijuana joint ignited a fire in Pullman on Sunday that razed two homes and displaced a dozen college students.

Two visitors from Colorado were at a home at 825 NE Maple St. and told firefighters they were smoking pot on an outdoor deck. A nearby couch caught fire and then winds blew embers onto the deck and the home. The fire spread and destroyed the home, according to fire investigators.

Students living at the address returned to find the home engulfed in flame, according to a news release from the city’s Fire Department. Embers from the house fire ignited a nearby field behind the Cougar Country drive-in, as well as a home at 400 NE Howard St. That house also burned in the fire, despite efforts from a student to douse the flames with a garden hose.

A firefighter sprained an ankle while fighting the grass fire, which burned a half acre before it was doused, said Glenn Johnson, mayor and public information officer for the Pullman Fire Department. That firefighter was taken to a hospital, treated and released, Johnson said.

The American Red Cross and housing services at Washington State University were working to house the students displaced by Sunday’s fire.

None of the students had renter’s insurance, according to a news release. Johnson encouraged renters to obtain a policy for protection.

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