2 fatal Calgary fires in December linked to careless smoking, investigators say
'Smoking inside or outside your home needs to come with a certain set of precautions'
The improper disposal of smoking materials was to blame for two fatal house fires in December, Calgary fire officials say.
An elderly woman died in a blaze on Ninth Avenue N.W. on Dec.14, and a 71-year-old man died in a Marlborough Park fire on Christmas Eve.
Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth warned of the dangers of careless smoking in June after 10 fires were caused that way in the span of two months.
Department spokesperson Carol Henke says educating smokers on the fire danger is a challenge.
"It is an addiction and it's a very challenging thing to quit, and if it's really cold out, people probably have a tendency to smoke inside," she said.
"In the summertime, when it's nice, because maybe they don't want to pollute their interior air, we see more people going outside to smoke, and thus we see the improper disposal outside."
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Henke says the Dec. 24 fire in Marlborough Park might have had a better outcome had the home been equipped with smoke detectors.
"That's why we continually want to reinforce the message that smoking inside or outside your home needs to come with a certain set of precautions so that you can really reduce or eliminate the risk of fire," said Henke.
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