Cigarette blamed for 3-alarm apartment fire in Fort Collins

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The improper disposal of a cigarette is to blame for a 3-alarm fire in Fort Collins Tuesday morning that badly damaged a three-story apartment complex and displaced 30 people, investigators said Friday.

The fire at the Buffalo Run Apartments on East Lincoln Avenue and South Lemay Avenue was first reported just before 4 a.m. Damage was estimated at $400,000, according to Poudre Fire Authority.

Fire investigators said the fire's point of origin was on a second-floor balcony. The fire spread to the third floor and eventually caused the roof to cave in.

A resident told 7NEWS after the fire that he thought a cigarette butt his roommate put inside a 5-gallon bucket must have not been put out all the way.

"What I'm assuming is he threw a cigarette butt in a 5-gallon bucket and the 5-gallon bucket ignited, and then ignited the table and everything else that was out on the patio," said Michael Cameron, a resident at the apartment complex.  "I just had a glass of water and I threw it at the base of the fire thinking it would do something but it didn't do anything at all."

Poudre Fire Authority confirmed to 7NEWS that they interviewed the two roommates about the fire.

More than 40 firefighters were called out to fight the fire, according to Captain Patrick Love with Poudre Fire. 

Occupants affected by the fire who still need assistance should contact the Red Cross of Northern Colorado.