At 4:42 this morning, Great Falls Firefighters were awakened by the sounds of fire alarms.  They were off to the south end of town for what could be a major problem.  A fire had broken out in the Rockcress Commons apartment complex along 24th Avenue South.  It's a newer complex that just opened a while back.

When fire crews arrived,   visible was a third floor balcony on fire.  Quick work by firefighters got the fire under control and eventually completely out.  How lucky are the residents that lived in that complex?  According to fire marshall Mike Mcintosh that fire was about to spread to the attic and the rest of the apartment building.  Luckily no damage was caused inside any of the units and people were allowed to stay.   There was damage to items on the balcony.


Mcintosh says they were able to determine that the fire started by a discarded cigarette that was put in a pot with potting soil.  He says this is a really bad place to discard a cigarette.   Mcintosh says today's potting soils actually have very little soil and instead have a lot of peat moss, shredded wood, bark, styrofoam and more and all these ingredients are highly flammable.  Fire officials say, avoid the dirt and instead use a metal ashtray to put your smokes out.


SAFETY TIP: Keep in mind that the soil in pots dries out more quickly than soil garden beds, so plan on more frequent watering.  Water potted plants regularly.  Make sure the soil around your potted plants stays moist.  Keep ashtrays handy and accessible.  Make sure smokers have a safe place to dispose of their butts, indoors and outdoors.  Use clay pots where possible. If a fire breaks out, a clay pot will keep it contained better than other types of pots.  Do not use potting soil labelled for indoor use only in outdoor containers, as different ingredients can dry out faster outdoors in the sun.  Keep potting soil away from combustible materials that could ignite and burn easily, such as firewood, stacks of old newspapers, aerosols, paint solvents, gasoline and cleaning products.  Dispose of unused potting soil carefully.  Unused soil can dry out quickly and become a fire hazard.  If you have any left over, spread it on your garden beds.  Always follow the manufacturers' directions for the type of potting soil you are using. ###

There were no injuries in this mornings blaze.

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