Vic West porch fire started with cigarette butt in planter

Victoria fire department warns against potential dangers of butting out in potting soil

Fire department officials say a lit cigarette butt in a back-porch planter caused a fire at the back of a home in the 700-block of Wilson Street early Saturday morning.

A crew arrived at the house at about 2 a.m. to find the back porch on fire. After starting in the planter, the fire spread up the outside walls at the rear of the house and towards the attic.

Residents of the home, none of whom were injured, helped keep the fire from spreading by using a garden hose and buckets of water. Firefighters managed to knock the fire down and prevent it from going into the attic.

Damage caused by the fire was estimated at $20,000. Afterwards, fire officials described how butting out cigarettes in planters can be an unsafe practice.

“Due to the large amount of peat moss often found in planter soil, the cigarette butts may not extinguish, and instead cause the peat to smolder and then ignite,” a department statement read. “Peat moss can smolder for long periods of time.”

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