Cigarette smoking in bed cited as cause of fatal fire

The Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office has determined that a fire in which an elderly woman died early Thursday morning was caused by her smoking in bed.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said in a news release that Phyllis Washington Smith, 65, of Front Royal died from burns and smoke inhalation.

Two other occupants of the house escaped and were treated at Warren Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation.

Mabie said both fatal fires in Warren County so far this year have been caused by careless use of smoking materials.

“A lit cigarette accidentally dropped onto a chair or bed or hot cigarette ashes tossed away before they are completely out can cause a large fire in seconds,” Mabie said.

Mabie urged people to smoke outside their homes and use a sturdy ashtray or can filled with sand to collect ashes.