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Investigators say cigarette was thrown into wicker basket, starting blaze that left $55K in damages

A cigarette butt is believed to have caused a house fire that broke out Tuesday morning in St. Helens.

Firefighters from Columbia River Fire and Rescue responded to a home in the 80 block of Dubois Lane at 10:48 a.m. Tuesday, July 11, that was filled with heavy smoke by the time they arrived.COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE AND RESCUE PHOTO - A firefighter approaches a home in St. Helens with extensive smoke coming from inside. Fire investigators say a cigarette may have caused the fire.

According to CRFR, smoke was seen permeating from the home, coming from the backside of the building. Firefighters were able to quickly contain the flames, but they had already spread to the attic. Crews on scene had to cut holes in the roof to access and vent the heat and smoke.

Investigators found a discarded cigarette had been thrown into a wicker basket and determined that caused the blaze.

"Working smoke detectors in the home helped alert the occupants to the fire," a CRFR news release states. "Cigarettes should always be discarded in a fire proof container in and outside the home to prevent fire spread."

COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE AND RESCUE PHOTO - Firefighters with Columbia River Fire and Rescue approach the scene of a house fire in St. Helens Tuesday morning.  The fire spread to the attic and crews had to cut holes in the roof to vent heavy smoke and heat. The fire caused "extensive damage" to the home, estimated at about $55,000, according to CRFR.

The home's two occupants—one adult and a child— were outside the home when firefighters arrived. There were no injuries reported and the residents have since been relocated into temporary housing with the help of the Portland-area American Red Cross chapter.

St. Helens Police Department, St. Helens Public Works Department and Columbia River People's Utility District crews also assisted at the scene.

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