A fire in at an apartment complex in Seven Oaks on Wednesday may have been caused by smoking materials that were improperly discarded, fire department officials said.
Division Chief Michael Cox of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said that investigators believe the cause of the fire was accidental in nature.
The fire destroyed several units in the apartment complex on Kintore Circle and damaged about a dozen units. Cox said about 30 people have been impacted by the fire, though property managers in Seven Oaks said they hope to find new apartments for those displaced.
Wednesday's fire came about a month after another blaze caused $750,000 in damage at an adjacent apartment building. Cox said it does not appear the two fires are related. The fire on Sept. 30 was also determined to be set accidentally, though a specific cause has not been determined.
The National Fire Protection Association said there were 90,800 fires resulting from smoking materials in 2010, resulting in 610 deaths and $663 million in property damage. However, the association said deaths were at a 30-year low.
The NFPA has issued the following safety tips for storing and discarding cigarettes:
- Whenever you smoke, use deep, wide, sturdy ashtrays.
- Ashtrays should be set on something sturdy and hard to ignite, like an end table.
- Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Dowsing them in water or sand is the best way to do this.
- Check under furniture cushions and other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
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