Discarded cigarette blamed for Portsmouth fire

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PORTSMOUTH — An improperly discarded cigarette was the likely cause of last week’s fire that displaced a family of four from their Sprague Street home, a representative from the state fire marshal’s office said Monday.

The official said an investigation of the incident revealed that a lit cigarette appeared to have accidentally ignited some outside mulch, and the fire then spread to the front of the house.

Deputy Fire Chief Michael P. O’Brien confirmed Monday that he was given the same information.

The cause of the fire is eerily reminiscent of a blaze which leveled a home on Summit Road in Common Fence Point back in February. A discarded cigarette was also blamed for that fire, from which a family of four escaped safely.

In May 2013, a Westport home was destroyed when dry mulch near a rear deck was ignited by a lit cigarette butt.

Last week, four members of the Raposa family managed to safely escape the early morning blaze on Sprague Street thanks to an escape plan they had practiced in advance, according to firefighters.

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