Cigarette butts led to 461 fire accidents in 2012, 392 in 2011 and 298 in 2010

It could be hard to believe but careless smokers ended up causing more than 2,410 fire accidents and several crores-worth of property loss in the last seven years in the city.

A study by A.P. Fire Services Department revealed careless smoking as one of the main causes for the increasing incidence of fire accidents — the other contributing factors being electrical short-circuit, gas leakage, fire crackers and chemical reaction, among others.

According to officials, cigarette butts that were not properly put off before being chucked, sparked fire in several incidents, one such case being the fire mishap that occurred at the multi-storeyed Babu Khan Estate in Basheerbagh a few days ago.

Fire broke out on the 11 floor of the building after one of the employees threw a still burning cigarette butt on waste papers dumped in the balcony of Sony Enterprises Software Solutions Company.

On noticing the flames, employees first called the fire control room and later tried to douse the flames themselves by bringing water in buckets. Fire-fighters from Secretariat station rushed to the spot, opened the hose reel and extinguished the flames within minutes.

“It could have been a major incident if the fire was not controlled on time,” officials said. Similar incidents also occurred in apartments at Ameerpet and Miyapur, a godown at Shastripuram in Katedan and other areas, causing damage to property worth lakhs of rupees.

Careless smoking led to 461 fire accidents in the year 2012, 392 in 2011 and 298 in 2010. Perturbed over the increasing mishaps due to casual smokers, the fire department has suggested that owners of the commercial buildings develop separate smoking zones on their premises to reduce such mishaps, Assistant District Fire Officer K. Vijay Kumar said.

Occupants should not dump cartons, waste papers and other flammable substances either in balconies or cellars, he advised. The department usually establishes the exact reasons for the mishap only after examining the premises and assessing the intensity of the blaze, Mr. Kumar added.

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