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Racine Fire Department reports 4 fires in 6 days all caused by smoking materials

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Racine Fire Department is concerned after they responded to four fires in six days all caused by smoking materials not thrown away safely.

"I’m very alarmed at the outbreak of fires in the city due to the same cause," said Racine Fire Lt. John Magnus.

One of the fires started Thursday, April 16, at a home on Green Street when the fire department says the owner threw a lit cigarette into a garbage can that was sitting against the home. The garbage can caught fire and spread to the home.

"At that point it caught the porch on fire, went all the way up the house, and got inside,” Racine Fire Lt. Michael Moss, said.

A firefighter hurt his ankle putting out the fire. No one else was hurt in the other three similar fires.

A fire on Deane Blvd. Sunday, April 19, was caused by a lit cigarette thrown into a non-safe container that ignited the deck. 

On Tuesday, April 21 the exterior of a house on Harriet Street, caught fire from a cigarette that was thrown outside that spread to a cardboard box and then to the house.

"Now with everybody being inside it seems like people are a little more careless right now," Moss said.

The fires caused $67,000 worth of damage and displaced 11 Racine residents. The fire department said all of the fires were preventable.

"Use water to extinguish your smoking materials and then put the smoking materials outside in a non-combustible storage container,” Lt. Magnus said.

The Racine Fire Department is also asking members of the community to follow the U.S. Fire Administration guidelines for making sure your smoking materials are completely extinguished. 

The guidelines are as follows: 

1. Use approved non-combustible containers to properly discard used smoking materials.

2. Put it out. All the Way. Every time! 

3. Soak butts and ashes in water before discarding in an approved non-combustible container.

4. The safest place to smoke is outside.

5. Never smoke while using supplemental oxygen. 

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