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Cigarette blamed for townhouse fire

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Photo by Pat Sunderland The middle unit of a three-plex on Park Ridge Court, Delta, was severely damaged by fire last week.

A cigarette has been blamed for a fire that severely damaged a townhome at 1120 Park Ridge Court in Delta Wednesday, April 26.

The structure fire was reported at about 6 p.m. When firefighters and police officers arrived on the scene, the garage was fully engulfed in flames and the fire was spreading to the attic area. The occupants of the home were able to exit through the rear doors.

The unit is owned by Nina Williams and sits between two adjoining properties.

Williams was out of town when the fire occurred, but the home was occupied by Dorothy Duran, her daughter, and Bill Duran.

Initially, Dorothy suspected the dryer was the cause of the fire because she had been doing laundry in the garage. But upon investigation, DPD Sgt. Furstenfeld and Delta Fire Chief Daniel Cano found evidence that pointed to a different cause.

According to a report filed by Sgt. Furstenfeld, Dorothy said she had been smoking while doing laundry and was using an ashtray sitting on a shelf by the door. The shelf also contained papers and plastic wrappers she used for delivering newspapers. Cano and the police officers concurred the opening and closing of the door from the garage to the interior of the home could have ignited the fire. The fire was deemed accidental.

The interior of the home has severe smoke and water damage, and three vehicles were damaged. According to the DPD report, two of those vehicles were completely destroyed. The neighboring residence at 1118 Park Ridge Court owned by Donald Smith received smoke damage.

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