A fire that may have been ignited by a lit cigarette butt damaged the front of the house at 319 Bartram Road in Riverside early Thursday morning.
According to Fire Chief Spencer Kimura, a 911 call came in at 4:05 a.m., and a female stated that the home’s living room was filling with smoke, though there was no sign of flames. Kimura said that activated smoke detectors alerted the homeowner to the fire. All four occupants of the house evacuated the home before emergency personnel arrived.
Police, who arrived on the scene first, reported heavy smoke inside the house and attempted to put out the fire, which was located near some plastic planters adjacent to the front steps, with handheld extinguishers.
Riverside’s deputy fire chief, Matthew Buckley, arrived on the scene at 4:10 a.m. and assisted in controlling the fire, while waiting for two Riverside firefighting trucks, which arrived at 4:17 a.m. Units from Lyons and McCook also responded to the scene, according to Kimura.
After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters opened up the front of the home to make sure fire did not travel through the wall.
Buckley, according to Kimura, determined that the fire did enter parts of the basement and first floor, but that damage was limited to the living room.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and Kimura said firefighters could not pinpoint an ignition source, though it appears to have been either inside or near a wood planting box attached to the house near the front steps.
One of the occupants of the home reportedly admitted flicking a lit cigarette butt away from the home prior to the fire igniting. At least one plastic planter near the front steps was partially melted due to the heat of the fire.
No one was injured. Emergency personnel cleared the scene at 6:18 a.m.
This story has been changed to correct information related to the area of the house where the fire ignited.