The cause of a fire that destroyed a Grand Forks home last week has been ruled an accident caused by improper disposal of smoking materials.

According to a release from the Grand Forks Fire Department, a smoldering cigarette ignited combustible mulch outside the residence at 1697 S. 38th St. on Wednesday, Aug. 12. The fire ignited the vinyl siding of the house and traveled up the structure into the attic space, intensified by strong southeast winds.

When firefighters responded to the blaze at 4 p.m., the house was fully involved. According to firefighters, no one was home at the time of the fire, and a bystander rescued a family pet from the back yard.

The Grand Forks Fire Department urges residents to properly dispose of all smoking materials in a non-combustible container. Residents should ensure all smoke detectors are working and regularly replace the batteries and should have an emergency plan for their home that is practiced regularly.

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