Firefighters suspect discarded smoking materials in a trash can may have caused an early morning fire at a home in the Driftside Trailer Park, 13500 U.S. 31 North in northern Bartholomew County.

German Township firefighters, along with Clifford and Edinburgh fire departments, were sent to the home at 4:55 a.m. after a female passer-by noticed a fire on the front porch and called 911 while trying to alert anyone inside the structure.

She woke up two males and one female, along with a pet dog that were inside the home, said Matt Lynch, deputy chief of the German Township Volunteer Fire Department.

A Bartholomew County dispatcher spoke with the residents who confirmed everyone was out of the home, Lynch said.

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The fire was out by 5:20 a.m.

Investigators believe the fire started on the front deck, where it consumed a 5-gallon bucket of used motor oil, and damaged a lawn mower underneath the deck and two bikes and a trash can on the deck, Lynch said.

The skirt around the mobile home had melted, but Lynch said it kept the fire from spreading inside the home.

The fire appears to be accidental, Lynch said, likely due to smoking materials in the trash can that had smoldered overnight. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters reminded residents that smoking materials need to be completely extinguished before being discarded. Lynch said it is best to discard smoking materials in a metal trash can with other non-flammable materials rather than a plastic trash can that has other household trash in it.

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