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Ash Trays

April 13, 2012

Today’s photo comes from the field.  We were called to a house where occupants had a practice of using pop cans as ash trays.  I spent a few years working with the military and that is a rather common practice.  Smokers often drink most of the can of pop, leave some pop in the can and then use the can for their cigarettes.  The liquid in the can would extinguish the cigarette.

In our case here, there apparently was no liquid left in the can to extinguish the cigarettes.  Heat from discarded cigarettes appears to have melted the side and bottom out of the pop can.  The can was sitting in an unburned area and the only heat source appears to have been the cigarettes inside.  Fortunately, fire did not spread beyond the cigarettes.  I’ve never seen this type of damage before and I would not have thought cigarettes could generate enough heat to melt a pop can.

You’ve heard it here before:  use an ash tray when smoking.  Today we’ll add that you should probably use ash trays designed for the purpose.  Ceramic and metal ash trays are the way to go.  Metal pop cans are not designed for use as ash trays and this one did not work well.  Empty your ash trays often.  Get the ashes wet and dispose of cold, wet ashes in the garbage.

If you’ve got questions about smoking materials and fire safety, call us at 509-466-4602, or e-mail me at, or leave a comment on this page.


From → Fire Prevention

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