Paragould Fire Dept. Releases New Advisories Following Cigarette Fires
"Mainly kitchen damage, over by wall, inside wall, and under the floor a little bit."
Tammy Shinault was away from her home for two hours when her neighbor and nephew noticed a fire brewing on her back porch, making its way in the home.
"They both saw it, come and kicked in the door, and got our dog out. It could've been a lot worse," says Shinault.
Fire Marshalls believed the cause of Shinault's house fire to be a hot cigarette butt, that was left inside a flowerpot outside Tammy's window. Paragould Fire Marshall Chris Rolling says it's necessary for residents to be responsible. Crews responded to three housefires in recent weeks, all involving situations in which cigarettes were discarded into plastic flowerpots containing soil, and other organic material.
"Those flower pots are a dry material right now," says Rollings, "That'll smolder for a couple hours, and then when they leave, it'll catch the side of the house on fire, and burn the pot -- causing it to melt."
Paragould Fire Marshalls say that house fires caused by improper cigarette disposal, is not common for the department. Yet, advise that house fires caused by cigarettes can go unnoticed for hours, and escatate quickly. Leading to thousands of dollars worth of residential damage. And possibly preventing the residents from escaping the home.
Tammy says she and her family will come out of pocket to repair the fire damage, but all are very grateful.
"Thanking God..and thankful for all of our good friends and neighbors that stepped up," says Shinault, while depending on others to act just as swiftly.
"If you see something that's not right, or that is off, stop!, she exclaims. "Take the two seconds to go and make sure someone is okay."