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police & fire

Cause Determined For Fire That Destroys Poughkeepsie Home

A home was destroyed after a burning cigar ignited a mattress.
A home was destroyed after a burning cigar ignited a mattress. Photo Credit: City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department
A burning cigar causing massive damage to a Fitchett Street home.
A burning cigar causing massive damage to a Fitchett Street home. Photo Credit: City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department
A fire started by a burning cigar spread through the Fitchett Street home.
A fire started by a burning cigar spread through the Fitchett Street home. Photo Credit: City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. - An unattended cigar burning near a bed ignited a mattress on Wednesday, causing a fire that spread throughout a Fitchett Street home, leaving a family homeless.

City of Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson said firefighters received numerous 911 calls for the fire at 45 Fitchett St., around 7:19 p.m.

By the time firefighters arrived the second floor of the two-story home was engulfed in flames, Johnson said.

"It was quite an extensive operation with the fire spreading through the attic and to the basement," Johnson said.

It took firefighters about 30 minutes to douse the flames that caused extensive fire and smoke damage to 75 percent of the home, he added.

The cause of the fire was a burning cigar that one of the residents "thought he had left in an ashtray next to the bed," which somehow ignited the mattress, Johnson said.

When the man found the burning mattress, he tried to put out the flames and then pulled it through the home trying to get it outside which spread the fire throughout the home as they dragged it down and through the entry way where it totally burst into flames when it hit air, he said.

One of the men attempting to move the mattress was overcome with smoke and received a small burn. He was transported to a local hospital, Johnson added.

Two other residents were unharmed. No firefighters were injured.

"Anyone who finds a fire in their home should close the door to the room, leave the building immediately and call 911," he said. "Don't try to fight the fire."

Poughkeepsie firefighters were assisted by the Arlington and Fairview fire districts, and Mobile Life Services.

Firefighters from Arlington, New Hamburg, and Roosevelt fire districts remained on standby, Johnson said.

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