Smoking materials cited as cause of Thomaston fire

By Stephanie Grinnell | May 06, 2013
Courtesy of: Thomaston Fire Department A fire that damaged the 296 Beechwood St., Thomaston, duplex on May 4 is being blamed on improperly discarded cigarettes, according to fire officials.

Thomaston — A May 4 fire that caused extensive damage to a Beechwood Street duplex is being blamed on cigarettes disposed of in a plastic serving bowl on the deck of the structure, Thomaston Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Leo said May 6.

A three-alarm fire was reported just before 7:30 p.m.

"It appears to have started on the backside of the house," Leo said, adding the fire climbed the exterior walls into the attic.

Damaged in the fire were parts of the roof and a master bathroom, he said, noting much of the "significant" damage was due to smoke and water.

After meeting with officials from the fire marshal's office May 6, Leo said the cigarette butts started the fire, which then climbed up the exterior wall of the structure.

Both tenants of the duplex were home at the time of the fire, which was reported by the upstairs tenant when she saw flames in her ceiling, Leo said.

"She thought her ceiling fan was on fire," he said.

Around 9 p.m., the fire was mostly extinguished, with gray smoke still puffing from the gable ends of the mostly-intact structure, and firefighters' headlamps clearly visible moving through the inside of the building.

Leo said firefighters remained at the scene until midnight, making sure there were no hot spots remaining. He said the attic had about a foot of of blown-in insulation, which can smolder undetected.

No injuries to the tenants, firefighters or pets were reported, though one cat remained missing as of Sunday afternoon, Leo said. The building, which is owned by Brian Barnes, is insured, according to fire officials. He said the tenants are staying with friends.


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