Discarded cigarette starts south side apartment fire

Published: .
Updated: .


An afternoon fire forced the evacuation of residents from a south side apartment building after a discarded cigarette caught surrounding combustibles on fire.  

Indianapolis firefighters were dispatched to the Grand Oak Apartments near Southport Road and Sherman Road just before 4:30 p.m Sunday for the report of an apartment fire.

They arrived and found heavy fire showing from apartments in the 3900 block of Grand Oak Place. 

Chelsea Dye and her four-year-old daughter were visiting her father's apartment when she stepped outside to smoke.  She believed that she had fully extinguished the cigarette before placing it into a container with a plastic liner.

The cigarette is believed to have started the fire in the container and spread to the siding covered partition, travelled up to the common attic space and heavily damaging two units.  Mr. Pugh was not home at the time.  

Chelsea told firefighters that her four-year-old saw flames outside on the patio and told her mother that the grill was on fire.  The two escaped the apartment unharmed and called 911.  

Mr. Pugh, an Army veteran, has lived in the complex for five years but has no insurance.  The family will stay with friends.  IFD Victims Assistance was called to help the other residents find shelter.    

The Indianapolis Fire Department would like to remind smokers to always make sure that cigarettes are fully extinguished before discarding them.  Utilize a metal container, located away from combustible material such as siding, wood, plants and patio furniture.  If necessary run the cigarette butt under water prior to placing it in the container. In the event of a fire, evacuate the area and call 911.