Typically in a house of non-smokers, guests that are smokers are often relegated to a designated area just outside. Hosts try to make the area as comfortable as possible, making the area many times off a back patio or the like. But the area isn’t manned or heavily populated, so when a cigarette isn’t fully extinguished, it can go unnoticed for a long period of time. That’s exactly what happened in this instance.
The house was built into the side of the hill, so from the front of the house you entered at the main level but at the back of the house you could walk out the basement, where if you looked up, you could see two more levels. A cigarette was placed in an ashtray near some trim on the house at the basement ground level. It didn’t completely go out, so the ashtray caught fire, it spread to the trim, traveled up to the deck on the main floor, then to the deck on the top floor, and it ultimately burned up the back half of the house.
While smoking outside does reduce the chance of a home fire, we would like to offer some additional tips so that you and your family won’t have to experience such a tragedy.
- Make sure to put your cigarette out all the way every time before leaving the area.
- Offer ashtrays for your guests. Place them on something sturdy away from your house that won’t ignite, like a metal table or concrete bench.
- Make sure the ashtray is stable and has a wide base so that it won’t tip over. An excellent ashtray option is a coffee can filled with sand.
- Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away.
- After the party is over, give the area a walk through to make sure everything is as it should be.