CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Chicopee Fire Department has seen an increase in fires caused by improper disposal of smoking materials.
Chicopee Fire Lt. Katie Collins-Kalbaugh told 22News it has led to at least five recent fires in the city– including ones on Ward Street, Prospect Street, and Mckinstry Avenue.
While all of these fires were reported and put out quickly, Lt. Collins-Kalbaugh said they are worried that won’t always be the case.
“The concern is that one of these fires is going to become very large and either people will become entrapped within their homes or become injured, or worse,” she said. “So we are trying to get the message out please dispose of your smoking materials properly.”
Lt. Collins-Kalbaugh said improperly disposing of your smoking materials is especially dangerous because fires can start long after a cigarette is thrown away.
She recommends using a bucket filled with wet sand to put out smoking materials and said to never throw cigarettes out of moving cars.
“Especially on a windy day, it can carry it a long way and push it up against someone’s home,” Collins-Kalbaugh said. “So throwing a cig from a moving car can actually endanger others and we think that may have been the case for one of the house fires we had.”
Chicopee Police Officer Mike Wilk told 22News officers can ticket and fine people for throwing cigarettes out of cars and on the ground.