Incident Type: 
Saturday, May 27, 2023 - 8:21am
Saturday, May 27, 2023 - 8:29am
I-90 eastbound
Madison, WI

The Madison Fire Department responded to a trio of outdoor fires on Saturday traced to, or presumed to be the result of, improperly discarded smoking materials.

On Saturday morning, Engine Co. 11 responded to eastbound I-90 for a grass fire along the interstate highway. Upon arrival, Engine 11 saw smoke driving across the interstate and a Wisconsin State Patrol officer out with a fire extinguisher trying to contain the spread. The officer managed to have a large portion of the fire knocked down, but firefighters pulled a hose line from their front bumper to spray down the area with water.

At 1:20 p.m., multiple 911 callers reported black smoke coming from the first floor of an apartment building at 2801 Dryden Drive. Engine Co. 10 noted gray smoke coming from the building as bystanders waved down firefighters upon their arrival. Engine 10 connected to a hydrant and proceeded to the building. They found exterior vinyl siding actively burning and rapidly knocked down the fire. They pulled away some of the siding to confirm the fire was completely extinguished, and they further confirmed fire did not extend into the building. The crew determined the fire began in a mulch bed and an arbor vitae tree. A cigarette butt was found in the mulch near the base of the tree.

Around two hours later, at 3:47 p.m., Engine Co. 1 was dispatched to an outside wood chip fire by the Dane County courthouse, 2 West Wilson Street. Four Dane County Sheriff’s deputies put water on the fire that appeared to be started by a discarded cigarette, but the fire was still smoldering. Firefighters exposed more of the wood chips and doused the area until the smoldering stopped and there was no heat.

Dry weather conditions increase the risk of fire due to improperly discarded smoking materials, among other fire and heat sources. Remember to discard cigarettes and other materials in a proper receptacle that won't catch on fire, and refrain from discarding cigarettes out of your vehicle window.

Posted 05/30/2023 - 1:10pm

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)