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Balcony fire caused by cigarette butt prompts evacuation of NW Calgary condo building

Investigators determined the fire was unintentional and was cause by a cigarette butt being put in a planter pot.

A condo building in northwest Calgary had to be fully evacuated on Wednesday morning due to a balcony fire.

The Calgary Fire Department (CFD) says crews were called to a four-story residential building on Royal Oak Plaza NW near Country Hills Boulevard NW and Royal Birch Boulevard NW around 7:50 a.m.

Fire crews arrived to find a fire on a south facing balcony on the fourth floor. Officials say an outdoor balcony sprinkler activated and contained most of the fire.

The fire department says flames made their way into the attic space of the unit. The resident of the unit made attempts to extinguish the blaze but found it was too large.

“Fire crews hit the fire quickly with a master stream from a deck gun and then also deployed other apparatus including a ladder truck to continue firefighting efforts,” reads a release from CFD.

The entire 120 unit building was evacuated. The resident in the unit that caught fire escaped without injuries. Officials say no other injuries were reported.

Officials say one resident slept through the entire incident because he was wearing noise cancelling headphones.

“This is an important reminder that if people choose to use devices that significantly diminish their senses, this can put them at significant risk of missing lifesaving signals that there is an emergency and that they need to evacuate the building immediately,” reads the release.

CFD says most residents were being allowed back into their units by Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators determined the fire was unintentional and was cause by a cigarette butt being put in a planter pot. The fire department is reminding smokers to adhere to the following guidelines when disposing of smoking materials:

  • Use a deep, wide, sturdy metal container with a lid, filled part way with sand or water that should be emptied regularly.
  • Ensure all butts and ash are out by soaking them with water prior to putting in the trash.
  • Never put out cigarettes or smoking material in flower planter, peat moss, your lawn or garden.
  • Extreme caution should be used in the city’s natural areas and green spaces where extremely dry vegetation covering the ground provides readily combustible fuel if an ignition source is applied.

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