Careless smoking blamed for McMillan blaze

Careless disposal of a cigarette has been blamed for a fire that caused $1 million in damage on McMillan Avenue in Winnipeg.
Flames roar from a home at the corner of McMillan Avenue and Daly Street on Tuesday.

Careless disposal of smoking materials has been blamed for a Winnipeg fire that caused $1 million in damage on McMillan Avenue.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner on Thursday released the cause of the blaze that destroyed one house and heavily damaged a neighbouring one.

Officials say a cigarette was stuck in a potted plant that had peat moss in it. The dry peat caught fire and the flames quickly spread.

Help fund

Friends are turning to social media to raise money for three people whose home was destroyed on McMillan Avenue early Tuesday morning.

The three tenants lost everything in the fire, and one of them did not have renter's insurance, according to friends.

A Facebook group, the "Tilton Hilton Memorial Fund," has been created to encourage people to donate.

Crews were called at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to the corner of McMillan Avenue and Daly Street, in the city's Fort Rouge neighbourhood.

Five people made it out of the house, which was divided into suites. Four got out on their own and one — the man sent to hospital — was rescued from an upper floor by firefighters on a ladder.

The house was gutted and is a complete loss. Damage is estimated at $600,000.

A neighbouring house, a single-family residence, experienced an estimated $400,000 in damage.

Get tenant insurance, woman says

Katie Noble, who lived in one of the suites, said she did not have tenant insurance when the fire struck, destroying everything she had.

Noble is settling into temporary accommodations, but she told CBC News she is still rattled by what happened.

"One minute I'm OK and thinking positively; the next minute, I'm in tears," she said Thursday.

Noble said she will get tenant insurance when she does move into a new permanent home. She is urging others to make sure they are insured.

"I'm sure people have heard of renter's insurance and that, but … you just don't think about it," she said.

"When you don't own the house, you don't think about all the stuff that's in it, maybe."