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Fire department issues warning regarding proper cigarette disposal after fire damages 3 Waukesha businesses

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Clean up continues in Downtown Waukesha after a fire damaged three businesses Tuesday.

The Waukesha Fire Department now believes the fire was caused by a cigarette left near Spring City Wine House. Two other businesses were damaged.

“I’m devastated,” Stacy Hockel, Spring City Wine House Co-Owner, said. “We worked our heart and souls into this place.”

The fire injured six firefighters, sending two to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire department says the fire was preventable.

“That’s the sickening part of it, I mean you just had to put the cigarette out,” Hockel said. “You just ruined somebody’s business.”

The fire department says under the right conditions a cigarette not properly put out can cause a fire.

“Fire needs heat fuel and oxygen,” Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Hoffman said. “So heat coming from the cigarette, the fuel being all the debris you see downtown, and the oxygen… there’s plenty of it and it keeps coming with the wind.

The Assistant Chief says over the last year and a half there have been about 15 fires in Waukesha caused by smoking materials.

“It’s our smoking population being a little more cognizant of what they’re doing and taking better care of disposing their smoking materials in a proper receptacle,” Assistant Chief Hoffman said.

He also recommends businesses and homeowners clear any flammable debris away from buildings.

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