Hamilton

Cigarette starts fire, forces apartment building evacuation

A fire that broke out at a downtown apartment building Tuesday afternoon was caused by a cigarette that was carelessly discarded, fire officials say.

A fire that broke out at a downtown apartment building Tuesday afternoon was caused by a cigarette that was carelessly discarded, fire officials say.

Crews were called to the 18 storey high rise building at 181 John Street North at 4:42 p.m.

When they got there, firefighters found flames on a balcony on the fourth floor of the building, which had spread into the apartment.

Additional crews were called in to try to contain the fire. Officials say they were able to douse it in short order using "aggressive tactics," and limited the damage to one unit.

"Crews immediately started ventilation procedures in order to clear the building of smoke and all residents of the building have returned to their apartment units except for the fire unit," a Hamilton fire news release reads.

One person who was suffering from a medical condition was taken to hospital, while two other people were treated at the scene. One firefighter was also treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, before returning to work.

Damage is estimated at $40,000. "The suspected cause of the fire was careless disposal of smoker's material from an upper floor balcony which ignited combustible items," Hamilton fire says.

"The Hamilton Fire Department would like to remind citizens that careless use of and disposal of smoker's materials is consistently one of the leading causes of fires in the City of Hamilton and with this in mind we ask that if you choose to smoke that you do so in a manner that will not place your family and possessions at risk from fire."

now