WFD: Discarded Cigarette Sparks Apartment Fire

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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UPDATE: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Fire investigators say a discarded cigarette sparked a major fire at a northeast Wichita apartment complex.

Crews were called to the scene in at Woodgate Apartments, 5400 E. 21st, just after midnight Wednesday. A second alarm was called to help battle the blaze.

Yannic Dozier was startled when someone banged on his door yelling 'fire!'

"I figured it was somewhere else in the building, but it was the apartment right above me completely in flames," Dozier said.

Dozier said he believes the fire department did an excellent job in stopping the blaze before it destroyed the entire building.

"I was expecting to just say goodbye to all my stuff and live under a bridge, or something," he said. "It's a lot better than it has any right to be. They really did a good job."

Firefighters were forced to fight the flames from the outside because the roof began to collapse. They managed to knock down the fire about an hour after arriving on scene.

The blaze destroyed four units, with others suffering smoke and water damage. Officials estimate the fire caused more than $400,000 in damage. As many as 40 people are believed to be displaced.

Stuart Bevis, Wichita Fire Investigations, said someone discarded a cigarette in a plastic flower pot filled with potting soil, starting the fire.

Bevis advises smokers to place cigarette butts in a metal container, preferably with water or sand and a lid.

No one was hurt. The Red Cross was called to assist 40 residents displaced by the fire.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Residents of a northeast Wichita apartment complex are left looking for a place to stay after fire causes massive damage to a building there, displacing about 40 residents.

The fire broke out just after midnight Wednesday at the Woodgate Apartments in the 5400 block of East 21st St. North, just east of 21st and Oliver. It took firefighters nearly an hour to extinguish the fire.

No injuries have been reported. Fire crews estimate the damage at about $400,000. Investigators say the fire was caused by careless smoking.

The American Red Cross is on the scene providing aid to the 40 people displaced by the fire.

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