Planters are not proper ashtrays, cautions Saskatoon Fire Department

Planters are not proper ashtrays, cautions Saskatoon Fire Department


Don’t dispose of smouldering cigarette butts in planters.

That’s the message from the Saskatoon Fire Department after a recent fire in the city.

“It started in a plastic planter with dry vermiculite,” said SFD assistant chief Yvonne Raymer.

“It was close to the proximity of the house, which once the plants caught on fire, then it caught the vinyl siding on fire and caused about $30,000 in damage.”

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Vermiculite is commonly used in compost formulations with peat moss as a way to improve soil aeration.

Raymer said people are mistaken thinking planters are an acceptable way to dispose of smoking material as the vermiculite dries out peat moss.

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“We may have some dried vegetation sitting in the planter. Those are readily ignitable that may smoulder for a day, may take up to two days, and it may be instantaneous after you’ve walked away.”

Cameron Choquette, CEO of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association, said proper cigarette disposal is paramount for landlords to ensure tenant safety.

“Improper disposal of cigarette butts or other flammable materials puts the health and safety of tenants across the building at risk,” he told Global News.

“While a cigarette butt in some peat moss in the planter may seem relatively safe, we’ve seen recent incidents that have proven contrary.”

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Raymer said one of the best ways to dispose of smoking material is a sealable jar with some water in it.

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“Once it’s submerged it becomes a non-issue. There’s no risk whatsoever,” she said.

“By putting the lid on nice and tight… if it gets tipped over, it doesn’t become a concern.”

Choquette also recommends commercial-grade cigarette disposal containers or ashtrays.

“If you’re putting a cigarette butt into something that maybe could catch on fire, then you shouldn’t be putting that cigarette butt into it,” he said.

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“Ashtrays are the best way to go or taking the cigarette butt and dowsing it in water prior to putting it into a garbage can.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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