Nov 082007
Authors: Myers Erik

Emergency crews’ lights flashed outside of the International House building Friday night after a fire broke out in the eastern wing of the building.

The fire, which had broken out in the late afternoon, started on the balcony of room 349, then caught onto the balcony of room 249, directly below.

Doug Lee, assistant fire marshal for Poudre Fire Authority, said the fire likely was the result of a cigarette that wasn’t discarded properly.

“It looks like an improperly discarded cigarette in a flowerpot started the fire,” Lee said. “It then dropped down on the second landing, caught onto blankets, and that led to the structural part getting go.”

Rob Haslinger, a junior electrical engineering major and resident of room 249, said he had been doing laundry just as the fire started.

“I had just left, and when I had come back, I looked through the window where the fire was,” Haslinger said.

Two bikes Haslinger had left on his patio were destroyed, along with blankets and a hammock. Two lounge chairs on room 349’s patio were also destroyed. Structural damage to the patios had not yet been assessed.

Lee noted that no criminal charges would be brought up against the residents of room 349, junior mechanical engineering major Habib Palenfo and chemical engineering graduate student Julian Metz.

Lee said that the scene had been a familiar one, and encouraged students to be careful when smoking.

“We get called in for a fair number of fires that are caused by that exact thing- people putting cigarettes out in potter plants,” Lee said. “That stuff is vegetated, not dirt. They put the cigarette out, and it smolders up the peet moss.”

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