TOLONO — Cigarette butts that weren't extinguished are believed to have cost a Tolono family their home earlier this week.
Tolono Fire Lt. Brian Lukenbill said Friday that investigators determined that improperly discarded smoking materials sparked a fire that consumed the home at 415 N. Central St. in two phases Wednesday and early Thursday.
"Both adult occupants were smoking prior to the fire," said Lukenbill.
The home is owned by Jared Bierman, who lives there with his girlfriend and a child, he said.
Lukenbill said the couple threw their cigarette butts in a wooden planter box on a table on their porch.
About 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, they were awake and noticed flames on the porch.
Firefighters got the fire out quickly and remained there until about 2 a.m. Thursday.
But the fire rekindled, doing significantly more damage before it was noticed by a passerby at 5:15 a.m. The house was fully engulfed when firefighters returned.
The loss is estimated at $90,000 to $100,000.
An account to assist the family has been set up at the Busey Bank in Tolono.