Cigarette Carried to Attic By Pigeon and Other Unusual Fire Causes

Back in 2009, we published a series of blog postings, listing vintage fire cause reports from around North Carolina from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, as (a.) reported to the State Insurance Commissioner’s office, (b.) compiled by the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association Statistician, and (c.) printed in the annual conference proceedings.

Here are some highlights:

  • Painter burning paint off of house, set house on fire.
  • Attendant in wash pit, presumably smoking while washing car, set car on fire.
  • House set on fire by occupant using wooden fire poker. 
  • Spark from passing train into load of cotton.
  • City bus hauling gasoline in open can.  
  • Belt jumped pulley, friction set fire to building.
  • Fire originated in a box of children’s toys.
  • The loss, $5,263, is the estimated damage caused by burning gasoline flowing in gutters from the Sir Walter Hotel garage, the garage was not damaged, the $5,263 applying to cars parked in the street. [ Raleigh, 1947 ]
  • Person in show room of garage struck match to light cigarette. Set bucket of gasoline on fire. 
  • After a drinking party, one of the drunks sleeping on settee dropped match, $1,500.
  • Rats between walls caused fire of $3,750 damage to dwelling.
  • Rats and matches in an old house, damage $1,600.
  • Drop cord nailed to wood ceiling, damage $1,600.
  • Pennies used for fuse plug, damage $1,750.
  • Electric hot plate on bed cooking, $35 damage.
  • Sun shining through acid jugs, damage $1,200.
  • Child drying hair on sofa, damage to furnishings $973.
  • Cigarette carried to attic by pigeon, result $2,600 damage.
  • Smoking in closet while looking for clothing, damage $1,600.
  • Occupant put broom in stove, too out and laid on trunk, damage $1,441.
  • Heating oil to pop corn on stove, went off and forgot about it, damage $11,716.66.
  • Sanding floors, lady lit cigarette, cost $700.;
  • Automobile ran through house, damage $1,218.
  • Overhead motor on a cash register, loss $50,000.
  • Pile of shucks and corn cobs in alley behind roller mill, probably illegal parker dropped cigarette, loss $130,000.

Read the original postings, with more entries: 

Part 1 – March 2009

Part 2 – March 2009

Part 3 – April 2009

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