EASTON — A local fire chief is warning residents and visitors to use care when discarding cigarettes and other smoking products.

Two incidents in one day prompted Easton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Sonny Jones to give this advice: “Carefully dispose of smoking materials in a proper receptacle.”

Firefighters from Easton, Oxford and Trappe fire companies, as well as the Talbot County Department of Emergency Services responded to a structure fire at 4:17 p.m. Monday, June 29, at the Days Inn by Wyndham, 7018 Ocean Gateway in Easton.

The cause of the fire was a cigarette discarded in mulch at the base of an outside pillar leading to the second floor. It took about a half hour for 39 firefighters to control the fire, which was discovered by an employee, who then called 911.

“The column had burned completely away” by the time firefighters arrived, Jones said.

According to the state fire marshal’s report, “The motel was immediately evacuated and no injuries were reported. The fire damage was contained to the exterior of the motel and no tenants were displaced as a result of the fire.”

Within a short period of time, the same firefighters also responded to a call at Magnolia Meadows in Easton where a small fire had started. A passerby noticed the siding on fire at a storage building at apartment 412, 7080 Lauren Lane.

Bystanders extinguished the fire, and firefighters had it under control in minutes, Jones said.

The preliminary cause of this fire also was improperly discarded smoking materials in mulch, Jones said.

“Never flick a cigarette into mulch as dry as it is,” Jones said. “Mulch can smolder for hours. If these incidents had happened at night, the fires would have been much more advanced.”

Deputy State Fire Marshal John Grothe advises people to discard smoking materials in a proper container, considering the current weather conditions of excessive heat and low humidity.

Grothe cautioned residents and visitors to practice fire safety “especially with Fourth of July grilling. “Don’t discard embers in in an unsafe manner or container,” he said.

Another fire still under investigation occurred at 10:14 p.m. Tuesday, June 23. Easton Volunteer Fire Department deployed eight firefighters to extinguish a blaze in a municipal recycling container at 20 Kelley Gibson St., Easton.

The fire was controlled in about 10 minutes, but caused about $200 in damage. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Upper Eastern Regional Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal at 410-822-7609.

Follow me on Twitter @connie_stardem.

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