Bottineau house fire started by makeshift ashtray

The fire that destroyed a home just north of Bottineau near Oak Creek Friday night has been deemed accidental and was caused by improper disposal of cigarette butts, according to Ray Lambert, the state fire marshal.

“It started in a plastic container that was being used as a cigarette disposal container,” he said of the fire that originated on a deck outside the structure. “When you start accumulating cigarette butts then you have accumulated a larger amount of material to burn. Once that started it goes to the deck and the sidings … Any combustibles are at risk at that point.

The fire is still being investigated and further details won’t be available until the deputy fire marshal who determined the cause gets some rest after working almost non-stop for three days, according to Lambert.

“For anyone who smokes, cigarettes should be properly disposed of in non-combustible containers and watered down if possible,” Lambert added. He added that cigarettes shouldn’t accumulate too much before being permanently disposed of and that any structure where an oxygen tank is present should be smoke-free.