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Smoking materials causing high-dollar fires in Fargo

In 2020, Fargo Fire responded to 19 fires from improper disposal of smoking materials. This trend is continuing in the first quarter of 2021.
In 2020, Fargo Fire responded to 19 fires from improper disposal of smoking materials. This...
In 2020, Fargo Fire responded to 19 fires from improper disposal of smoking materials. This trend is continuing in the first quarter of 2021.(Fargo Fire Department)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:33 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Improper disposal of smoking materials is causing high-dollar fires in the City of Fargo. Fire Marshal Ryan Erickson says it was an issue in 2020 and it’s continuing to be a trend in the first quarter of 2021.

In 2020, the Fargo Fire Department reports a total of 246 fires in Fargo; 153 were accidental, 37 incendiary, two natural and 54 had undetermined causes. 110 of the fires occurred in buildings, 39 were dumpster fires and two vehicle fires.

Twenty-seven fires were sparked in cooking areas, 21 on balconies and 19 vehicle storage and garages. 39 fires came from radiated conducted heat from operating equipment, 21 lighter open flames and 19 from smoking materials. Intentional fires saw an increase in 2020 by 13 fires.

“You have cigarettes or smoking materials pile up over the winter or maybe there is a flowerpot that isn’t being used,” said Ryan Erickson, Fire Marshall. “That pot over the whole winter is dried out and the plants have probably died. This builds up and as spring approaches, we get nice, warm, dry air and that provides an opportunity to become a problem.

Erickson says the best way to make sure you do not cause a fire with your cigarette is to make sure to place the cigarette in a metal container or ashtray with sand in it. Soak the cigarette butt before throwing it out, and do not use a coffee container because it is flammable. Potting soil will burn as well because it is organic. Never throw a cigarette butt out of the window.

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