Investigators believe a man who died in an Edmonds apartment fire may have fallen asleep while he was smoking.
A man in his 40s died in a fire at an Edmonds apartment complex on Oct. 10.
Residents at the Edmonds Highlands apartments in the 23300 block of Edmonds Way reported the fire at 4:51 p.m. When firefighters arrived, flames were coming out windows on both sides of a three-story, 12-unit building at the 120-unit complex.
As they searched the building, firefighters located the victim in his second-floor apartment, according to Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1, which provides fire service in the City of Edmonds.
More than 30 firefighters from Fire District 1, Shoreline and Lynnwood responded to the fire. No one was injured.
The fire started in the victim’s apartment. Investigators believe the fire was started by a cigarette and suspect the victim may have fallen asleep while smoking.
Four apartments were damaged by the fire and two other units had smoke and water damage. Property loss is estimated at more than $550,000 damage.
“All 35 residents of the 12-unit building will be out of their apartments for the night because the power was cut to the building,” Hynes said. “All but the 11 residents of the six units with fire and water damage will be able to return when the power is restored. Those residents will need to find a new place to live.”
The Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the residents. Most of them did not have insurance.
Cigarettes and other smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Fire District 1 offers these tips to prevent fires caused by smoking materials:
• If you smoke, smoke outside.
• Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
• Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
• Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
• Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
• To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you have to be alert. Don’t smoke if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
• Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach.