WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Fire officials in Rhode Island claim that makeshift ashtrays from plastic coffee cans have sparked three house fires this year alone.
According to West Warwick Fire Marshal James Bobola, cigarettes can light the plastic container on fire. Then, “if it’s up against a wooden structure or vinyl siding, that flame can extend to the building,” he said.
Steven Parenteau is someone that uses one of this homemade ashtrays.
“Well, if we had some cast iron coffee pot things we’d use them, but all we have is, this is what he have,” said Parenteau.
Red Folgers containers dot the outside of his West Warwick apartment complex.
He said, “there was a long time when they had nothing to use for the cigarette butts and we’d get butts all over everything– used to get stuck to the bottom of my boots and stuff.”
Bobola explained that he just wants the public to be safe.
Investigators believed a cigarette caused a fire on Maple Avenue the night before Thanksgiving. Another fire on Main Street in September got a similar start. An apartment building on Summit Avenue was deemed unlivable after a June fire sparked by a cigarette fire.