Careless smoking causes $100K in damage to Elmira home

The two occupants of 4 South St. W. were hospitalized after a fire in their Elmira house this weekend. The blaze, which began at 12:48 a.m. on July 7, spread from the back of the house while the two occupants attempted to stop it.

A fire at an Elmira home July 7 sent occupants to hospital for smoke inhalation. [will sloan / the observer]
“The back shed and the kitchen are where the damage was done,” said Woolwich deputy fire chief Dale Martin, one of 20 firefighters who arrived at the scene. “The whole kitchen needs to be redone. The back of the house has a little mudroom built onto the house, and that’s [been damaged]… It’s not really livable at present.”

Martin confirms that the blaze was the result of a lit cigarette. “It would have been careless smoking,” he said. “They had a smoking area in the back room, but we’re not sure what all transpired back there.”

Damage assessment has been completed, with the estimated total being $100,000 ($75,000 in property damage, $25,000 to contents). The occupants were treated for smoke inhalation symptoms, and will be living with family until repairs are finished.

An investigation has shown that the house had working smoke detectors. In a statement released July 8, Mayor Todd Cowan urged Woolwich residents to “have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes and to not attempt to fight fires in your home unless you have been properly trained.”

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