A cigarette butt causes a devastating fire that left several families homeless on Monday, June 28 in Watervliet.

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The fire was very extensive and caused fire damage to two three apartment buildings. The fire was so bad that it left 20 people homeless.

Fire Chief Tom Garrett said that the fire was so extensive because they were not able to respond to the fire in a timely manner. Apparently, the person who caused the fire did not call for help until it was too late. Chief Garrett said, “The individual was smoking. He just discarded a cigarette. It went on a pet couch and that caught on fire. They didn’t notice for a while and they attempted to put it out by themselves.” Chief Garrett said that the fire was totally preventable.

Residents who are displaced from the fire are frustrated. One resident said that they were left without any of their belongings. Another individual seemed heartbroken. Pedro Valentine said, “Our home. Things that we work so hard to get, for somebody who is being irresponsible, it’s a little bit frustrating. But you know, life goes on and we thank God because we are alive.“

The Red Cross was called to the location and they are helping the displaced residents find temporary housing.

An officer with the Watervliet Police Department says that the fire is considered an accident and the individual responsible will not face any charges from the police.

The fire department is still at the location putting out hot spots that are still occurring in the building. Fire Chief Garrett says that the building is not habitable and that it will probably be torn down.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people who were affected by the fire.

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