A fire inside a garage on Booker Street Feb. 20 was halted before it spread to the adjacent residence, thanks in part to the tenant’s need for an early morning nicotine fix.

Eric and Kurt Dyer are tenants at 44 Booker St., according to Thomaston Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Leo. The property is owned by David Boutin. Leo said the two-car garage, which sits just 5 feet from the residence, is used by the family as a smoking area and is set up with a table and chairs.

“Eric dropped a cigarette in one of the chairs around 9:30 Friday night and spent time looking for it,” said Leo. “He didn’t find anything, but went back out to the garage later that night to check again and still didn’t find anything happening so he went back inside and ignored it.”

A little after 2:30 a.m., Leo said, Eric Dyer woke up and went outside to have a cigarette and noticed smoke coming from the garage. After Dyer opened the side garage door, Leo said, he saw fire inside and closed the door. His next move, said Leo, was to dial 911.

Two engines, the ladder truck, an ambulance and 14 people responded to the call, and put the fire out in about 15 minutes.

“It’s fortunate he woke up to go back outside,” said Leo. “Due to the proximity of the house to the garage and the fact that the fire had just really started getting going, this could have been a lot worse.”

Damage to the garage structure was limited to some rafters, which Leo said will need repair or replacement, and contents of the garage, which consisted of multifamily household items. Leo estimated the damage at around $5,000 to $10,000.