WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A fire that damaged a two-family Westfield home Monday afternoon was caused by careless disposal of smoking materials.
According to the State Department of Fire Services, at around 2 p.m. Westfield firefighters saw smoke in the area of Parker Street when they were returning to Station 3 from training. While responding to the area, fire was seen coming from the rear of a home on Parker Street. The fire spread to the rear of the home near an exterior porch.
“The Westfield Fire Department was in the right place at the right time to knock this fire down quickly, but an engine company won’t always be passing by,” said Chief Egloff. “It’s much safer to prevent a fire in the first place by being careful to extinguish smoking materials completely before you dispose of them.”
The fire was investigated by the Westfield Fire Department, Westfield Police Department, and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, who found no evidence of foul play. Based on interviews, burn patterns, and other evidence, investigators determined that the fire was accidental and caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials into an outdoor trash can, where they ignited combustible items inside.
“Smoking caused more fatal fires last year than all other known causes combined,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “The safest, healthiest step is to quit. But if you must smoke, do it responsibly and use a heavy ashtray or can with water or sand. Put it out. All the way. Every time.”
Officials are reminding residents to dispose of smoking materials properly. Fires caused by smoking can smolder for long periods of time before igniting, whether indoors in a bed or sofa or outdoors in a trash can, planter, or pile of mulch.