Careless smoking identified as cause of Northwoods Ice fire

The Bemidji Fire Department announced that careless smoking was the cause of the fire that caused serious damage to an Industrial Park Business last week.

According to an updated release, the investigation indicated the fire on Memorial Day was started by improperly discarded smoking materials.

The fire involved response from numerous agencies, as an anhydrous ammonia leak was identified and required the expertise of the Minnesota Hazardous Materials team from Grand Rapids.

Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant but can be toxic if inhaled, leading some responding firefighters to be monitored for symptoms relating to the exposure.

BFD reminds the public to take precautions while smoking, as smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires in Minnesota. If you smoke, smoke outside and discard cigarette butts in a deep, sturdy ashtray filled with water or sand, not in vegetation such as potted plants or mulch.

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