Smokers material is being blamed for two recent house fires in the city, one being in the Royal Oaks area on Monday, and the Grande Prairie Fire Department is asking residents to BUTT IT OUT.
The fire department says ‘smoking is the second leading cause of home fires’ in Grande Prairie at 14 per cent.
“We are seeing a trend where smokers tend to go outside to smoke for health reasons” says James Kostuk, Fire Marshal City of Grande Prairie Fire Department. “They often have an unapproved ashtray or discard cigarette butts into flowerbeds. These butts can smoulder for hours prior to starting a fire”.
Along with being a fire hazard, tossing cigarette butts is considered littering and carries a $115 fine in the city.
“We have seen our neighbour cities in Alberta and across the country experience massive fires causing large dollar losses and creating huge social economic impact. We have been lucky so far, it’s a matter of time before we have a similar fire or a fatality. We need to make a change, it needs to happen now and starts with all of us,” said Kostuk.
The fire department is offering some tips to reduce fires:
– Never extinguish smoking materials in plant pots. Dirt such as peat moss burns.
– Always extinguish smoking materials in deep, non-combustible ashtrays.
– Make sure that matches and cigarette butts in ashtrays are wet and completely extinguished before you put them in a garbage container.
– Never discard smoking materials on the ground.
– Keep lighters, matches and cigarettes out of the reach of children.