A discarded cigarette is believed to have caused a small fire on the front porch and in siding on a home at 909 Pearl St.

Columbus firefighters were sent to the home at about 5:24 p.m. Tuesday after flames were seen on the front porch, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

A neighbor already had used a fire extinguisher on the porch, which reduced the fire to a smolder as firefighters arrived, Wilson said.

Firefighters heard several smoke alarms inside the single-story rental home, which was vacant when the fire was reported, Wilson said.

Fire investigators determined that discarded smoking material ignited combustible materials on the front porch which spread to the home’s vinyl siding, Wilson said. Firefighters located the tenant, who told investigators that prior to leaving the house he had discarded a cigarette in the area where the fire started, Wilson said.

Damages to the home were estimated at about $2,000, with minor smoke damage to the interior, Wilson said.

The fire department reminds residents that smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths and that cigarettes should be discarded in a non-combustible container.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.