CHAMPAIGN – A woman, two teen-age daughters and a younger child escaped a house fire in Champaign on Tuesday.
Champaign fire spokeswoman Dena Schumacher said the fire was caused by a smoked cigarette that had been left on the floor of a small back porch just off the kitchen at 511 E. Washington St.
"It appears that the wind blew the cigarette into a crack in the wall near the door," Schumacher said.
To avoid such incidents, people should be very careful to extinguish all smoking materials in a heavy ash tray and empty all cigarette butts into a can filled with sand or into a toilet, she said.
Deputy Chief Tim Wild said firefighters were called to the small wood-frame house at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived, there was smoke coming from the area of the front door.
"When they opened the floor up, they did have some flames under there," Wild said.
Firefighters had to cut holes in the floor and the door frame to make sure the fire had not spread, he said.
Nellie Short, 49, and the two teen daughters and grandchild were home at the time of the fire, according to Schumacher.
The occupants smelled smoke but could not find anything until one of the daughters noticed some wisps of smoke coming from the door frame, Schumacher said.
"Nellie Short called 911 and everybody got out OK," she said.
Damage was confined to the kitchen with light fire and smoke damage, according to Schumacher. A preliminary estimate on damage was $1,500.
Emergency Support Team members and the Red Cross met with the family to determine if assistance was needed, she said.
The house is owned by Nina Sibley of Champaign, according to Schumacher.