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Second Bangor fire in two days caused by discarded cigarette butts

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Bangor firefighters enter a house at 24 Fourth Street in Bangor on Monday, March 26, 2012.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — For the second time this week, improperly disposed of cigarette butts are to blame for a fire in the city.

The first fire occurred outside an apartment on Fourth Street on Monday night and forced nearly a dozen tenants who were home at the time to evacuate temporarily, fire officials said.

The second fire, reported at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, started on a third-floor deck of an apartment at 84-88 Lincoln St., Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Cyr said Wednesday morning.

“The origin of the fire was a rear deck and the cause was improperly disposed of smoking materials,” he said. “There were seven tenants in the building.”

One tenant, who has a puppy, is credited with alerting the other residents about the fire.

“Apparently, one person got up to let their puppy outside and when they saw the fire they woke up their roommate and they woke up the rest of the tenants,” Cyr said.

As the roommates knocked on doors of their neighbors, the building’s fire alarms went off, the assistant fire chief said.

The fire damaged the outside of the building and one of the apartments, Cyr said.

“One apartment is not habitable because of the fire,” he said. “Everybody else was able to get back in, as I understand.”

Monday’s fire at 23-25 Fourth St. was caused when someone dumped a pile of cigarette butts, some of which were still hot, at the back of the building. It damaged a rear wall and displaced tenants from two of the building’s eight apartments, Assistant Fire Chief Tom Higgins said at the time.

People who smoke should take extra precautions with their hot cigarette butts, especially with the region’s dry conditions, Cyr said.

“The message is to properly dispose of smoking materials,” the assistant chief said. Consider “not just flicking them outside but placing them in a noncombustible container of some kind.”

“A cigarette thrown out in the grass can get a grass fire going,” Cyr added.

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