Fire on Colorado Street caused by smoking materials, fire department says

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A fire that displaced 10 residents from an apartment building at Fifth and Colorado streets in Lawrence last week was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, investigators have determined.

The fire caused an estimated $175,900 in damages to the building and $87,950 in contents loss, for a total of $263,850, Tom Fagan, division chief of administration for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, said via email Thursday.

As the Times reported, the fire originated on the exterior of the building, and occupants were notified by bystanders in the area and smoke detectors. The fire was determined to be accidental, Fagan said Thursday.

One occupant was evaluated for minor injuries; one firefighter was taken to the hospital for evaluation but was released later the same morning, the Times previously reported.

Fagan noted that “There’s also the impact on the residents who lived in the building, not only the monetary loss of property.”

“Ten individuals were displaced from their homes and are working with the Red Cross for support,” he said. “Behaviors and choices people make can have life-altering effects. If you smoke, please discard the materials properly. Otherwise, the consequences can be significant.”

August Rudisell/@KsScanner Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical staff works at the scene of an apartment fire the morning of Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

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