House Fire

A man narrowly escaped from a house that caught fire early Saturday morning and investigators have determined that a cigarette discarded in a kitchen trash can was the cause of the blaze.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel were dispatched shortly after 7:30 a.m. to the 13000 block of Payson Street in Rockville for the report of a house fire. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control and investigators were requested to the scene and have determined that an improperly discarded cigarette started the fire in the trash can. Investigators have confirmed that there were no working smoke alarms in the house and have estimated that the fire caused $195,000 in damages.

The resident was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries and was expected to be released over the weekend.

Fire officials said there are countless statistics and warnings about the health dangers of smoking however many overlook the very serious hazards of home fires created by cigarettes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths.

The following tips can help prevent a tragedy from striking you:

· Dispose of smoking materials properly. Never dump cigarette butts in trash bags or containers without first thoroughly soaking them in water.

· If you smoke outside, use a non-combustible container, such as an ash tray or coffee can, and don’t discard smoking material on the ground or in mulch.

· After parties or family gatherings and before going to bed, always check your furniture if people have been smoking. Lift the cushions and check in between the sides and backs, and under furniture.

· Provide plenty of ashtrays for people to use.

· Never smoke in bed.

· Sleep with your bedroom doors closed. This simple action can prevent smoke and poisonous gasses from entering your bedroom and allows time for the smoke alarm to wake you in time to safely evacuate.

· Develop a home escape plan with your family. Make sure you know two ways out of each room and have a pre-designated meeting place. It is recommended that you practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

· Make sure your smoke alarm is in good working order. Push the test button at least once a month, change the battery annually and remember that all smoke alarm units should be replaced every 10 years.

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