Edmonton has seen 97 condo and apartment balcony fires over five years which have cause $45 million in damage.
Most recently, a condo building fire requiring 15 trucks and 60 firefighters caused $16.3 million in property damage and displaced about 300 residents. It was caused by improper disposal of cigarettes.
These fires are seen as preventable.
Dropping a cigarette butt into a planter or flicking it off a balcony seems harmless. Hours after being dropped in a planter it can reignite into an open flame. That cigarette butt flicked off a balcony can blow onto another balcony, reigniting on a lounge chair, vinyl siding divider or mattress stored on the balcony. This is exactly what happened to a Wellesley St. condo in 2010 which injured 17 people at a 711 suite building.
Allowing smoking in buildings is cited as one of the problems. Not providing proper receptacles for cigarette butts makes the situation worse.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services now require condo and apartment buildings to supply proper receptacles for cigarette butts. This applies only to those buildings where management has not prohibited smoking throughout the building.
This is seen as requiring individuals to take responsibility for their actions when they smoke. Discarding cigarette butts anywhere but a proper receptacle is a fire hazard that puts all building occupants at risk.