Officials: Blaze was accidental

Firefighters determine discarded cigarette likely source

A vacant home in the 2200 block of Cherry Street was heavily damaged in a fire believed to have been caused by a discarded cigarette.

Columbus firefighters were sent to a home at 2212 Cherry St. at 2 a.m. Thursday after a passerby saw smoke coming from the back of the structure.

Firefighters determined no one was in the single-story brick home and extinguished the fire within minutes, said Capt. Mike Wilson, Columbus Fire Department spokesman.

The fire is believed to have started in a kitchen/utility area, Wilson said.

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A property representative told firefighters the home had been under renovation since August, and firefighters believe the fire was caused by discarded smoking material placed in a combustible container, Wilson said.

Firefighters found cigarette butts were discarded in a cardboard box filled with trash, Wilson said. Workers had been at the home Wednesday night doing renovation, he said.

The fire was ruled accidental due to the discarded smoking material, Wilson said.

Fire damage was contained to the kitchen/utility area, but smoke damage was visible throughout the home, Wilson said.

The home, valued at about $70,000, sustained about $20,000 in fire damage, firefighters estimated.

No injuries were reported.

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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.