A Saturday afternoon fire in Westminster resulted in about $50,000 in property damage, according to a release from the state fire marshal.
At 1:13 p.m., about 50 firefighters, primarily from the Westminster Fire Department, responded to 22 W. George St. to find a two-story, single family dwelling unit on fire, according to a news release from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Two female occupants were upstairs when they heard a series of explosions and subsequently discovered the second-floor porch on fire, the fire marshal’s office said. They were able to escape after a neighbor extended a ladder to their window. The explosions were later determined to be discarded aerosol cans that were inside a recycling bin on the porch, according to the fire marshal’s office.
The fire took 15 minutes to extinguish and no injuries or deaths have been reported.
Oliver Alkire, Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal, said the preliminary cause of the fire is under investigation but a discarded cigarette cannot be ruled out.
He said since it’s “difficult to pinpoint a cigarette because it’ll burn up,” it can’t be definitively ruled as the cause without absolute evidence.
Moving forward, the department will use weather, time of day, witness statements and other factors during their investigation to determine the specific cause of the fire.
Alkire encouraged the public to properly dispose of cigarettes by discarding them into the appropriate receptacle and submerging them in water.