The Tucson Fire Department discovered that a large fire near Pantano and Stella on Wednesday was caused by an improperly disposed cigarette and heavy wind.
Seven people were displaced from their homes in the Ridgewood Gardens Apartments in the 3300 block of S. Pantano because smoking material was improperly disposed in a plastic trash container.
TPD says it started in the backyard of one apartment. Eleven fire units and 25 firefighters arrived on scene around 5:45 p.m. and the fire was under control just after 6:10 p.m.
Police received many calls about smoke and flames coming from the back of a multi-apartment building. The effected area in the back of the complex has more than 15 units.
TFD entered through the front door of the apartment with hose lines. They extinguished flames as they moved through the apartment when heavy winds blew the flames from the back of the apartment toward an apartment to the east.
TFD then relocated their hose lines to get ahead of the fire. The flames reached a third apartment and crews were able to extinguish the blaze.
Two people were safely evacuated from the first apartment, with a woman and her two cats escaping from the next apartment, and no one was in the third apartment.
Tucson News Now has confirmed that the Red Cross helped one family of five with clothing and shelter.
Other residents were evacuated. There are 170 apartments in the complex.
There were no reported injuries and the estimated damages was unknown.
The fire department reminds the public that almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in home fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials every year.
Tucson News Now's Carissa Planalp is on scene. You can follow her on Twitter at @CarissaTNN.
Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
7831 N. Business Park Drive