Discarded Cigarette Causes Union Gap Motel Fire
Yakima area firefighters have been busy so far this week with brush fire and a house fire in this heat as they try to save property and lives while trying to stay cool themselves. On Tuesday firefighters were busy with a fire at the Sunset Motel in Union Gap. Firefighters arrived at about 9:50 a.m. Tuesday and found a fire in the attic of the motel. 7 units in the motel at 3401 Main Street were impacted by the fire and no one was injured. It took several hours to douse the flames of the fire.
Firefighters confirmed all occupants had evacuated the building. One person experienced chest pains after escaping the fire and was transported to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.
The Red Cross was called to the scene to help the 15 to 20 people displaced from the seven units. Firefighters contained the fire to the inside of the seven-unit building but the flames cause extensive damage and the building is considered a total loss. Damage is estimated at $300,000.
The cause of the fire was a discarded cigarette. Yakima Fire Department officials remind everyone that cigarettes cause a lot of fires every year. In fact the National Fire Protection Association says "during 2012-2016, an estimated annual average of 18,100 (5%) reported home structure fires started by smoking materials killed an average of 590 (23%) people annually, injured 1,130 (10%) per year, and caused $476 million in direct property damage (7%) per year.
One in 20 home (5%) home structure fires were started by smoking materials. These fires caused almost one in four (23%) home fire deaths, and one in 10 (10%) home fire injuries.
Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths for the five year period of 2012-2016. Overall, one of every 31 home smoking material fires resulted in death.
The leading area of origin for home smoking fires in 2012-2016 was an exterior balcony or open porch (18%).
Forty-three percent of the deaths were caused by fires that started in the living room. One-third (34%) were caused by fires that began in the bedroom."