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Early morning fire sparks reminder to smokers to properly butt out

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The Grande Prairie Fire Department is reminding residents about the dangers of extinguishing cigarettes in planters after a fire early Thursday morning on Lakeland Drive. Firefighters were called to the scene around 5 a.m. and were able to quickly extinguish the fire and limit the damage to the building.

The fire department says the flames originated in a planter box on the 4th-floor balcony and the cause was determined to be smoker’s material.

“People are smoking outside more often than not, [and] people are [improperly] disposing of their smoking material, like using planter boxes, into shrubs or gardens, or simply flicking it on the ground near their house,” explains Fire Prevention Officer Trevor Schwabe. “This seems harmless, but it is very dangerous, and we like to say always safely put your butt out in a sealed can of water, sand, or some other safe method.”

Schwabe adds the origin for the majority of home smoking fires is on an exterior balcony or open porch. If ashtrays are not available, he recommends using a metal can or pail and warns against emptying butts directly into a trash can.

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“Take heed of it and understand that it can happen that quick. Smokers material improperly discarded can lead to a house fire or house fires.”

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