Improperly discarded smoking materials caused fatal apartment fire

Michele Anderson, Public Safety Communications Manager

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 12:19 p.m.

Fire investigators with the Spokane Fire Department Special Investigation Unit have determined improperly discarded smoking materials caused last week’s fatal apartment fire.

Just after 1 a.m. on Friday, September 14, the Spokane Fire Department responded to 4100 block of N. Cook St. and found flames coming from a second story window. Crews were able to contain the fire to the involved apartment. An adult female was found deceased in the apartment.

The Spokane Fire Department wants to remind community members of the dangers of unattended or improperly discarded smoking materials.

Important safety tips when smoking:

  • Smoke outside. Many items in a home can catch on fire if they touch something hot like a cigarette or ashes.
  • Put cigarettes out all the way. Don’t walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials. Put water on the ashes and butts to make sure they are completely extinguished before putting them in the trash.
  • Use a deep, sturdy non-combustible ashtray or container. Place it away from anything that can burn.
  • Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily.
  • Before you throw away butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
  • Do not smoke after taking medicine that makes you tired.
  • Never smoke around medical oxygen. Medical oxygen can explode if a flame or spark is near. Even if the oxygen is turned off, it can still catch on fire.
  • Never smoke in bed.