Cigarettes cause several fires in Savannah area

Cigarettes cause several fires in Savannah area
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Just this week, Savannah Fire responded to multiple fires - two of which were caused by cigarettes.

One happened on Wednesday when a cigarette got into the pine and ended up burning a hotel. The other ended up being deadly.

Fire official Bob Milie says a cigarette causes a fire to start. It then grows and ends up getting out of control if someone can't extinguish it or call 911 quickly enough.

"People have their cigarettes going and a lot of times, people smoke in bed, and it's become such an accepted practice," Milie said.

Milie says this accepted practice can certainly be something preventative.

Fire officials from Savannah fire and Chatham Fire say cigarettes continuously burn. Most modern-day homes are also made out of synthetic materials that catch fire and burn quicker.

One major thing that causes the fires with cigarettes is people falling asleep while smoking.

"Cigarette embers are at a higher temperature oftentimes than just a direct flame of a match or a lighter. It's been burning for quite some time and they are cherry ambered," Milie said.

Milie also explained how fire investigators are able to tell how a fire that ends up destroying a home from something as small as a cigarette.

"They get back and they are able to tell by burn marks, scorch marks, and patterns where the fire began and how it began. It's a science," Milie said.

Government statistics also show the number of smokers is decreasing, but over a third of all fire deaths in the country lead back to cigarettes.

Milie says they do not recommend people smoke inside of structures. If they do, always keep the cigarette in an ashtray. If an ashtray is being used, make sure the cigarette is fully extinguished before emptying it in the trash can.

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