Basalt Fire: Cigarette butt left in planter causes $100k in damages to home | AspenTimes.com

Basalt Fire: Cigarette butt left in planter causes $100k in damages to home

Staff report

Basalt firefighters mop up at the scene of a house fire in Blue Lake subdivision on Thursday.

A home renter in Blue Lake subdivision accidentally caused a fire Thursday afternoon when he put out a cigarette in a planter on a deck, according to the Basalt Fire Department.

The fire caused extensive damage to the home at 159 Black Bear Trail. The fire was reported at 3:32 p.m., and the first firefighters on the scene reported heavy smoke from the attic of the two-story home.

"An occupant of the home reported he was asleep and woke up to the sound of fire crackling," the fire department said Friday in a statement. "Crews attacked the fire from the rear of the home and were able to control the fire within 15 minutes of arrival."

There were no injuries. Although the fire was contained to the attic and rear exterior of the house, the damage was significant and the home is uninhabitable. The loss was estimated at $100,000.

Firefighters allowed the three occupants who rent the home to retrieve some belongings after the fire was snuffed.

The cause of the fire was accidental but human caused, according to Deputy Fire Chief Pete Bradshaw. The statement said Travis Morton, 21, smoked a cigarette earlier in the afternoon on the deck and put the butt in the planter.

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"Based on the timing of the fire it appears that this action caused the material in the planter to smolder for some time before igniting the wooden siding on the rear of the home, which quickly carried the fire to the soffit and into the attic," the statement said.

The Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District responded to the fire with two engines, a ladder truck, two ambulances, as well as a ladder truck from Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District. The Carbondale Fire Department provided additional aid with an engine company. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Basalt Police Department, Holy Cross Energy and Black Hills Energy also assisted in responding to the incident.

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