After multiple house fires in Grande Prairie the last month and the ongoing wildfire situation across Alberta, municipal fire officials are urging smokers to butt out properly to help prevent any potential fire from sparking at home or outdoors. Grande Prairie Fire Marshal Chris Renyk says that while the majority of residents are diligent, others are putting the community at risk.
“Smokers start countless fires that destroy homes and businesses and endanger the lives of our neighbours across the region. So, if you’re a smoker, it’s time to take responsibility for your actions, and dispose of your cigarettes properly.”
Renyk says three major house fires over the last month were confirmed to have been started by improperly putting out smoking materials like cigarette. He adds these fires are preventable by preparing any area for smoking with a proper ashtray or, at the very least, a container with water in it.
“More and more smokers are smoking outside, and what happens is they think the dirt they get from the local store is actual dirt they’d find in the ground, but that is not the case. It’s just like sawdust, and if you have a planter that is plastic leaned up against the side of your house, it’ll light up your siding within minutes, hours, or even days. You’re not only putting your family and homes at risk, but your neighbours as well,” Renyk adds.
On April 29th, a home in Westpointe was destroyed by fire, with damage done to its neighbours. At that time, Renyk said the distance between the home was largely why further damage wasn’t done, along with quick work to extinguish the blaze.
A week earlier on April 22nd, damage was done by fire to at least two homes in the Countryside South area. That was just three days after two homes were lost to fire in Mission.
In all three fires, no injuries were reported, but multiple families were displaced.