KUSA - Two fires just two days apart were both caused by careless smoking, fire officials say.
An apartment fire Sunday night in Colorado Springs displaced 20 people. Firefighters say someone on a third floor patio threw their cigarette away in a potted plant. The plant caught fire. The flames spread to the apartments and even blew up a propane tank.
A fire at the Appletree Condominiums near South Dayton Street and East Peakview Avenue in Englewood on Tuesday morning may have also been caused by an improperly-disposed-of cigarette on the third-floor balcony. Twelve units had to be evacuated. Six of those units were damaged. One was destroyed in the two-alarm fire.
From 2007 to 2011, smoking materials caused ore than 17,000 house fires and cause more than $500 million in property damage per year.
During Fire Prevention Week, 9NEWS talked to experts about the correct way to dispose of cigarettes.
"The best place is to smoke outside but also make sure that the cigarette is out before you discard it, because fires are likely to happen if you put a cigarette out in a potted plant," Becky O'Guin, ?Community Relations Director at South Metro Fire Rescue, said.
Firefighters say the best thing to do is to submerge the cigarette into water before discarding it and then putting it into sand.
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