Smoking Materials Caused High Point Fire & 2nd Fire on East Side

April 21, 2010

City of Madison fire investigators have determined that a 2-alarm fire at 1040 North High Point on Saturday was caused by discarded smoking materials on a second-floor balcony.

Firefighters responded to the fire at an apartment building on Madison's west side early Saturday evening. They arrived to find flames through the roof of the 2-story, 28-unit structure. Internal alarms were sounding and occupants had evacuated.

The fire quickly went to two alarms. Knockdown took almost an hour as crews battled flames in the roof and inside exterior walls. One crew of firefighters narrowly escaped injury as they approached the building when a propane tank on another balcony exploded.

Three people, 2 adults and an infant, were transported to Meriter Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

The fire taxed the City's firefighting resources. When a second call came in on the City's east side, there were only two crews left who were not involved in active firefighting. Fire apparatus was repositioned to maintain coverage in the rest of the City.

Damage to the two-story structure is now estimated at $800,000, with another $250,000 in losses expected for contents.

2nd Saturday Fire
Investigators have concluded that the second fire called in as firefighters battled the High Point fire was also caused by discarded smoking materials. That fire, at 516 East Lakeview Avenue began near a rear deck when an occupant discarded a cigarette that ignited dried brush nearby. Damages in that fire are estimated at $10,000. No one was injured.

The City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents:
•If You Smoke, Smoke Outside
•Wherever You Smoke, Use Deep, Sturdy Ashtrays
•Make Sure Cigarettes and Ashes are Out - Put It Out. All the Way. Every Time. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
•Check for Butts - Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don't put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
•Never Smoke in a Home Where Oxygen is Used Never smoke while using oxygen or are anywhere near an oxygen source, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
•If You Smoke, Fire-Safe Cigarettes are Better

Contact:
  • Lori Wirth, (608) 266-5947