Although the tin did have a lid on, yesterday morning’s high winds blew it over and the cigarette burned for a couple hours before igniting. The fire started in the front of the townhouse and made its way into the siding of the building and eventually the attic, spreading to neighbouring homes.

“With the high winds it fed the fire quite a bit,” explains Caughill. “It got up and then got into the siding and then took off from there.” 

No one was in the unit at the time, but a woman was home next door, who was alerted by another neighbour from the next row of townhouses. No injuries or loss of pets was reported.

To prevent other fires like this one, Caughill has a couple of recommendation for proper disposal of cigarettes. 

“Be very careful with how you discard your cigarettes, he warns. “We recommend that if you’re going to use coffee tins or things like that, that you discard of them regularly, daily, and that you have a little bit of water in there.”

He also recommends using a weighted object that won’t blow over in the wind, and using a fire proof lid on it. The tin in this case had months worth of cigarette butts in it, and did not have any water.

Caughill also cautions not to put cigarettes out in planters, as they often use a composting soil that is flammable, unlike dirt.