Apartment fire that displaced 10 people was caused by improper disposal of smoking materials

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

A fire early Wednesday, May 5, 2021, displaced 10 occupants of an apartment building at 507 Colorado St. Firefighters say the fire started on the exterior of the building.

A recent Lawrence fire that displaced 10 residents was caused by improperly discarded “smoking materials,” a Lawrence fire official said on Thursday.

Tom Fagan, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical administrative division chief, told the Journal-World in an email that the May 5 fire at 507 Colorado St. resulted in an estimated $264,000 loss to property. About $176,000 of the property loss was to the apartment building and about $88,000 was to content loss within the building, he said.

Fagan said the start of the fire was determined to be accidental. He noted the fire not only caused financial damage, but also ruined the homes of 10 people. Those individuals are receiving support from the American Red Cross.

“Behaviors and choices people make can have life-altering effects,” Fagan said in the emails. “If you smoke, please discard the materials properly. Otherwise, the consequences can be significant.”

As the Journal-World previously reported, early that day, fire crews responded to a call for a fire at the apartment complex, where flames were showing from the exterior and roof of the building. They were able to confine the fire damage and prevent additional spread.

One resident was evaluated for minor injuries, and one firefighter was taken to the hospital for evaluation but was quickly released.

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