Oak Ridge fire officials say they believe an apartment fire that displaced four families on Friday was caused by improperly discarded cigarette butts and ashes.
The fire was reported Friday afternoon around 2:10 p.m. in the 200 block of Waddell Circle. The fire was put out quickly and everyone made it out safely.
Residents say they heard a “whooshing” sound while watching TV. They opened the back door and saw the deck was on fire.
Investigators say the fire started on the deck and spread to the apartment and attic. One side of the building had serious damage. The power has been disconnected until the wiring can be inspected and repaired.
The American Red Cross is helping all four families affected.
The residents of the burned apartment said they had been smoking and think one of them may have emptied cigarette butts and ashes into a cardboard box on the back deck around 20 minutes before the fire was discovered.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department is warning people to always discard of smoking materials safely. Use a non-flammable container with a lid that’s partially filled with sand or water and empty the contents regularly. Soak all cigarette butts and ash with water before putting them in the trash.