Cigarette butt causes $1 million house fire

Cigarette butt causes $1 million house fire

14 September 2008

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Australia — A discarded cigarette butt is the cause of a fire that gutted a house and did $1 million worth of damage in Melbourne, fire investigators say.

Fire crews were called to the single-storey weatherboard house in Madden Avenue, Carnegie in the city’s south about 8.10pm (AEST) last night. They found the house and adjacent garage engulfed in flames.

A side fence was also destroyed.

The house next door sustained cracked windows and melting plastic on its exterior but fire crews brought the blaze under control before it caused major damage to the adjacent property.

No one was home at the time of the fire.

The damage bill is estimated at $1 million.

Commander Darren Davies of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said a cigarette butt discarded in the backyard was pushed by strong winds underneath the house.

“There was a heap of stuff stored under the house – lawn mowers, grass matting which gave it a lot of fuel and the fire’s broken through the floor,” he said.

“It was going like an absolute bomb.”

Commander Davies said the house and garage would be bulldozed today.

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