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Fire Officials Fight Back Against Careless Smokers - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fire Officials Fight Back Against Careless Smokers

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Fargo firefighters are getting hot under the collar about the rising number of deck fires in the city.

They say they've responded to almost forty since April, including one Monday morning.

The deck fires have caused almost fifty thousand dollars in damages.

Firefighters say they're asking city leaders to consider altering Fargo ordinances to include a surcharge on people who cause damaging fires with careless smoking materials. They say many deck fires are caused by people discarding cigarettes in plastic coffee cans and in old planters filled with dry peat -- both of which can be a severe fire risk.

They say they've done billboards and other public service ads, but nothing so far is working.

"Public education, I think that's going to be the biggest thing to change behavior. Get people to listen, to understand that there's a good way to dispose of smoking materials, so we don't have any more tragic ends to these fires than we've already had, that sort of thing," says Assistant Fire Chief LeRoy Skarloken.

Fire officials say they're already working with apartment building owners to place approved, wind-proofed ashtrays outside the buildings.

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