A stray cigarette was the cause of a major condominium fire last week in Haverhill that displaced nearly two dozen residents and destroyed two buildings, the state fire marshal’s office said Thursday.
“We are asking smokers to take responsibility for properly disposing of their butts and prevent fires,” Alan DeNaro, Haverhill public safety commissioner, said in a joint statement with the fire marshal’s office. “Improperly disposing of a cigarette into a pile of mulch, dried leaves, or debris is reckless, and people know it.”
The blaze started outside 21 Forest Acres Drive May 7, when a receptacle that residents used to dispose of cigarettes caught fire. The flames traveled up the residence, eventually destroying two 10-unit buildings and displacing 20 residents, according to the statement.
The blaze also ignited a 10-acre brush fire behind the buildings.
A young mother jumped from the third floor of one of the buildings, holding her 18-month-old son. She suffered severe injuries, but her son did not. Two firefighters were hurt in the fire, which caused about $670,000 in property damage, the statement said.
The fire was investigated by Haverhill firefighters and police and State Police.Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera