Cig­a­rette causes mi­nor fire in Pottsville

The Republican Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY MARCHIANO Staff Writer

POTTSVILLE — A cig­a­rette caused a small fire in a down­town build­ing Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to the city’s fire chief.

The Pottsville Fire De­part­ment was dis­patched at 3:54 p.m. to 306 N. Cen­tre St. for a re­port of smoke in the struc­ture. Upon ar­rival, Pottsville Fire Chief Todd March found “a heavy haze of smoke” in the first floor of Copy­cat Busi­ness Sys­tems. He did not hear any smoke de­tec­tors.

Fire­fight­ers went around to the back of the build­ing, which also has two apart­ments on the up­per lev­els, and dis­cov­ered smoke com­ing out of a crack. They chopped at the ex­te­rior of the build­ing be­low the third­floor fire es­cape to get to the source of the smoke.

March said a cig­a­rette was “dropped or thrown” into the space.

“It got into an area where there was wood in the wall,” March said.

There was an ash tray on the fire es­cape and dis­carded

cig­a­rette butts on the ground.

“It ended up be­ing a mi­nor fire. It could have been a ma­jor fire,” March said. There were no re­ports of in­juries.

The owner of the build­ing, John Onufer, said an em­ployee at Copy­cat called the Schuylkill County Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­ter to re­port the in­ci­dent. He said he does have in­sur­ance.

March said the fire, deemed ac­ci­den­tal, didn’t cause a lot of mone­tary dam­age.

“It was a pretty good scare,” March said.

How­ever, it shows the im­por­tance of be­ing care­ful when smok­ing.

“You’ve got to be care­ful with cig­a­rettes. We are just lucky this hap­pened in the day­time,” March said.


Fire­fight­ers check the in­side of the wall at the rear of 306 N. Cen­tre St. on Fri­day in down­town Pottsville af­ter be­ing called for a re­port of smoke in the build­ing.

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