Fire Marshal: Cigarette Responsible for Fire that Destroyed Foscoe Apartment Complex

Published Friday, May 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm

By Jessica Isaacs

Officials say the fire that destroyed a Foscoe apartment complex on April 25 was the result of an improperly discarded cigarette.

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An apartment complex in Foscoe was destroyed after a fire on April 25 that resulted from a cigarette. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

Local responders were dispatched to a building located at 6472 N.C. Highway 105 South near the Valle Crucis intersection in Foscoe in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 25.

The building, which housed five apartments, was a total loss, although its fourteen total residents, including several small children, were able to escape without injury.

Authorities determined that the fire began in the far right apartment, which had been converted into living quarters from a storage unit. Other residents reported that the tenants of that apartment frequently smoked inside.

After nearly two weeks of investigation, the Watauga County Fire Marshal’s Office has ruled that the fire began as a result of an improperly discarded cigarette.

Assistant Fire Marshal Taylor Marsh said the cigarette was likely thrown into a wastebasket.

“We found remnants of what appeared to be a wicker-style basket in the area of the fire and the tenants were known smokers,” said Watauga County Assistant Fire Marshal Taylor Marsh. “The other tenants of the complex stated these tenants frequently smoked in the apartment. We didn’t find any other heat-producing equipment in the area that could have caused the fire.”

Marsh said he would like to remind people who smoke that it’s important to properly discard of their cigarettes.

A new owner purchased the building just two weeks before the fire. Required permits were never pulled to convert the storage unit into a residence, officials say, so there’s no way to know whether or not it had been brought up to code. The conversion happened before the building changed hands.

Check out our initial story on the fire for more details and photos.

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An apartment complex in Foscoe was destroyed after a fire on April 25 that resulted from a cigarette. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

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