Roanoke Co. Fire/EMS Photo

Fire investigators have determined the cause of Monday night’s apartment fire blaze: improperly discarded smoking materials.  Roanoke County Fire Chief Rick Burch says the fire that destroyed 12 units at Cedar Pointe started when a cigarette was tossed into a planter on a second floor balcony. 18 people were left without homes, but there are no reports of injuries. Fire officials say two cats died in the fire, but firefighters were able to rescue several other pets. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

[audio:|titles=04-04 Fire Folo Wrap3-WEB]

(Continue reading for the full Roanoke County Fire/EMS news release.)

Here is the full Roanoke County Fire/EMS news release:

Improperly Discarded Smoking Materials Cause of Roanoke Co. Apartment Fire


April 4, 2012 (ROANOKE COUNTY) –Investigators determined that improperly discarded smoking materials caused a fire last evening in a Roanoke County apartment complex in the Cave Spring area.

The fire, which displaced 18 residents, started on a second-floor exterior balcony. From there, the fire reached the mansard-style sloped roof, spreading up to the attic and across the entire building.

The cause was determined to be unintentional. Fire Officials are reminding people to discard smoking materials in proper receptacles.

Roanoke County Fire & Rescue crews responded to the fire at 6 p.m. and found flames coming from a three-story wood-frame building. Volunteer and Career firefighters from the Cave Spring, Back Creek, Clearbrook, Vinton and Salem stations battled the blaze for several hours before calling it under control. Crews remained on scene throughout the night to douse hot spots.

While firefighters were monitoring the apartments overnight for flare ups, a cat was found sleeping under a pillow on a bed.  Sometime this morning, another cat was found in one of the apartments.  There are still several cats unaccounted for.

Damage totals are not yet available.