Cigarette causes minor fire in Pottsville
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.