Police: ‘Cigarette caused house fire’ – Smoking materials linked to two other recent house fires

Published 8:07 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A burning cigarette placed in an outdoor potted plant has been deemed the cause of a house fire on Monday afternoon.

According to Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger, Austin police and firefighters responded to a call at 2:19 p.m. on Monday at 703 10th Ave. SE in Austin.

Virginia Ball, 65, of Austin, whose grandson lives at the property, was in the house when the fire started.

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“I smelled smoke and thought one of the neighbors had a fire going,” she said. “I stepped outside and I thought, ‘Oh my God, the grass is on fire!’”

Thick, dark smoke billows from the roof of a home at 703 10th Ave. SE Monday afternoon.
Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Ball said she tried to extinguish it by throwing a bucket of water on it. When she walked into the house to get another bucket, smoke was coming in by the doorway. At that point, the renter arrived home and told her to get out.

According to Krueger, the potted plant was engulfed in flames, causing the siding to catch fire.

No one was hurt in the fire and two dogs were evacuated from the home.

Red Cross arrived on the scene at about 3:30 p.m. and is assisting the tenants.

The property is owned by ACW Properties LLC of Austin, according to Mower County records. The structure suffered both fire and smoke damage and appears to be a total loss, according to Krueger.