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Discarded cigarette to blame for Raleigh apartment fire

Posted February 25, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— A discarded cigarette is likely to blame for a fire that destroyed three apartment units around 6 a.m. Wednesday at Falls Creek Apartments on Thornton Commons Drive, according to fire officials.

The cigarette belonged to a woman who said she often smokes on her second-story balcony, authorities said. No one was injured.

Fire strikes Raleigh apartment complex Cigarette to blame for apartment fire

Besides the three units destroyed in the fire, two others were damaged by water. A total of 20 apartments will be off-limits to residents until Thursday, according to apartment officials.

Red Cross officials were helping the displaced residents, who stood outside in the cold as firefighters battled the blaze. They later kept warm in the apartment complex's clubhouse.

Resident Katie Baker said she woke up to the sound of a fire alarm.

"At first, we just saw smoke and then it started to break through the roof, and then we walked around back and we could see it was the whole building," she said.

Battalion Chief Keith Tessinear warned the community about the dangers of carelessly discarding cigarettes.

"Lately, in the city of Raleigh, we've had several fires that have started because of discarded smoking material, so we really need to let the public know how dangerous it is," he said. "If you smoke, that's fine, but be careful how you discard it or how you handle it. Obviously, now you know people are displaced."


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  • 1Packfan Feb 26, 2009

    whowever commented about banning people from smoking in/near their homes (be it apt, townhouse, whatever) and their car needs to get a grip. Where are peoople that choose to smoke going to smoke? As a former smoker, I was conscious of others, and did all I could to keep smoke away from non-smokers I was with. Geez - we all need to just get a grip! I think there are more serious issues for us to be concerned with than where someone smokes.

    Let me pose this question. When I lived in my apt, I was albe to have a grill, and now that I'm in my townhouse, I use it even more. Are you saying that grills should not be allowed either? What about the backyard firepits? What about banning live Christmas trees as they are fire hazard with the lights.

    Be reasonable folks....

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 26, 2009

    WTVD Viewer said, “maybe her ashtray caught fire?” Then, it’s not called an ashtray.

    Scarlet, your example of “aerosol can with the smell of feces” would be a better comparison to tobacco smoke if it was also laced with Asbestos, since they are both Class A carcinogens (cancer causing agents. Smokers just don't seem to accept this, 'cuz if they did, they'd never smoke around another human again.

    LocalYokel, you can report these people littering out of their cars here: http://www.ncdot.org/doh/operations/dp_chief_eng/roadside/Beautification/Litterbug/salform.html They will get a letter in the mail “reminding” them that they are littering...like they forgot the world is not their ashtray.

  • LocalYokel Feb 25, 2009

    they should offer smoke free apartments at a reduced rate. Tenants should get a discount because insurance on the structure would be less. It would attract a higher caliber person, one who cares more about themselves and has respect for others. Statistically, you and your loved ones would live longer and healthier in a cigarette free apartment complex.

  • fritobandito Feb 25, 2009

    Lets see, smoker sues tobacco company for cancer, tenants sue tenant responsible for fire......sounds like a "great" idea to me....

  • monkeyboy Feb 25, 2009

    "How would you like it if I carried around a aerosol can with the smell of feces and sprayed it in your car, in or near your home or while you are eating at a restaurant."

    I would call it assault and/or destruction of property and have you arrested. If you feel that smoking is the same thing, then call the police next time. Like it or not, smoking is legal. Other people have rights besides you, you know...

  • commonsensical Feb 25, 2009

    Smoking should not be allowed in or around any multi-occupancy buildings such as apartments, duplexes or hotels.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Feb 25, 2009

    Smoking is a selfish thing. Those who smoke, most , anyway, have little regard where they disgard them, and who's around when they smoke. It's definitely an addiction, but one that can be beat. As laws are made to restrict the locations of where you can smoke, it becomes more of a pain, and hopefully a deterrent.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Feb 25, 2009

    so guys i would defend myself but the moderators this evening apparently do not agree with me although i have said nothing offensive so im out of this conversation and on to another

  • LocalYokel Feb 25, 2009

    cigarettes are disgusting and this fire is just one reason I say that. To a smoker the world is their ashtray. I see cigarettes flicked out of cars nearly every day - they are much more visible at night. They occasionally start fires by the roads. No responsible person wants to smoke cigarettes.

  • Scarlet Feb 25, 2009

    Smoking should be outlawed in any apartment, townhome or car. Besides being dangerous - remember the fraternity house that burned down at UNC and killed the students? - the smoke doesn't stay around your head but moves through the air so that others who don't smoke, are allergic or have to live there will have to breathe in the lingering smoke. Ever have to roll your window up in your car because the person in front of you has their cigarette hanging out the window and it comes in your car? The only place you should be able to smoke is in your own home or when no one is within 50 feet of you. How would you like it if I carried around a aerosol can with the smell of feces and sprayed it in your car, in or near your home or while you are eating at a restaurant. Smokers have a right to smoke but don't have a right to expose others to it and this women's negligence could of killed someone.