A carelessly discarded cigarette in a dry front yard started the fire Saturday that destroyed a home on the west side of Scottsbluff.
City Fire Marshall Anthony Murphy says after interviewing three adults and a child and finding cigarette butts in the yard by the front porch, he found out several people had been outside smoking approximately 20 minutes before the fire started. They were all inside the home when the fire exploded from the dry vegetation to the porch and the front of the house, when the occupants noticed it and hustled out the back door.
Murphy said they did not have a phone and yelled for neighbors to call 911, which they did. Murphy said the fire was so hot it threatened other property and firefighters put water on the side of the house to the east to keep it from spreading. Murphy said the fire department did help the occupants salvage photo albums and sentimental items afterward.
Murphy reminds people to not only be careful with discarded cigarettes, but also have a second entrance to their home that can be used as an exit in such situations.
The house at 817 West 24th Street was occupied by Keith Grant and Katie Murphy.