Firefighters work to put out a blaze at the Stone Ridge Apartments on March 7, 2013.
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Columbia fire investigators say an improperly disgarded cigarette led to a fire that destroyed 12 apartments and sent two people to the hospital this week.
They released their findings Thursday into the blaze that took place at the Stone Ridge Apartments.
Around 4 a.m. Wednesday, flames began consuming a unit and quickly spread, aided by high winds that were present at the time.
Two people suffered injuries and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Damage was estimated $272,000.
Firefighters say smoking is the number one cause of fatal building fires. Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins offers the followings safety tips.
- Smokers should smoke outside and use ashtrays with a wide, stable base that won't tip over.
- Always make sure cigarettes and ashes are completely out.
- Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
o Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away.
- Chairs and sofas burn fast so never put ashtrays on them and check for cigarettes under cushions if people have been smoking in your home.
- If you are drowsy or falling asleep.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, test them once a month and change the batteries at least twice a year
- Make and practice a home fire escape plan