A cigarette butted out in a flower pot is being blamed for a house fire in the Rural Municipality of East St. Paul, just outside of Winnipeg, early this morning.

The East St. Paul Fire Department was called out to the blaze in the 600 block of Pritchard Farm Road at around 2 a.m. CT Thursday.

'It is a very bad habit of butting cigarettes in flower pots. It does cause fires quite often.' —East St. Paul fire Chief Ray Riddolls

The back deck of the house was on fire, and the flames spread to the floor joists, East St. Paul fire Chief Ray Riddolls told CBC News.

No one was injured, but officials say the house is a write-off, with damages estimated at $750,000.

The provincial fire commissioner's office confirmed that a cigarette in a flower pot sparked the blaze.

"It is quite common, especially at this time of year," Riddolls said.

"The flower pots are very dry [and] full of peat moss, and it is a very bad habit of butting cigarettes in flower pots. It does cause fires quite often."

Thursday's house fire is the fourth this week to be caused by the accidental disposal of smoking materials, according to the provincial government.

A spokesman said three of those fires were caused by cigarettes that were put out in flower pots: the Pritchard Farm Road fire, a house fire on Furby Street on Tuesday, and another house fire on Sigma Street on Monday.

All four fires caused damages totalling $1.6 million, according to the province.

"It is a very big concern. We've had a stretch with very little precipitation to assist in wetting down potted plants," said Dave Singleton of the fire commissioner's office.

"They're drying out, it's the end of the growing season, so they now become part of that combustible material."

Recent house fires
Date Address Damage Cause
Sept. 10 Sigma Street, Winnipeg $300,000 Smoking material in flower pot
Sept. 11 Furby Street, Winnipeg $150,000 Smoking material in flower pot
Sept. 11 Allenford Drive, West St. Paul $425,000 Careless disposal of smoking material
Sept. 13 Pritchard Farm Road, East St. Paul $750,000 Smoking material in flower pot
(Source: Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner)