Investigators say lit cigarette started fire that destroyed home in Cape Coral


A fire destroyed a family’s home, leaving a mother and her two sons homeless.

Cape Coral Fire Department investigators determined Friday a fire started at a home in north Cape Coral after a teen threw away a lit cigarette. The home was damaged beyond repair due to the flames Thursday night.

Fire investigators told us one of the kids tossed a cigarette into the garage, and it didn’t take long for the that spark to burn the house down. There is nothing left to salvage from the family’s home in the 400 block of NE 24th Ave.

“It was huge,” neighbor Debbe Applegate said. “I don’t even know how to describe it. I’ve never seen anything like that before or been this close to something like that.”

Applegate lives next-door to the home that was consumed by the fire. She watched flames shoot into the sky and worried her own home was going to burn next.

“I really believed that was going to be it,” Applegate said. “I thought well because of the wind and everything that it would probably just come over to our yard.”

Neighbors, including Carol Geddes, watched what happened from the next street over

“I’ve never seen anything that high,” Geddes said. “It was terrible, and it went so fast. You could see the roof caving in, and then we saw the firemen in the lanai in the back trying to break stuff down.”

The American Red Cross confirmed the night of the fire it planned to respond to the family to provide any assistance it could.

Other neighbors believe the fire could have been worse than circumstances already were.

“If it had been windy like it was a couple days ago, it would’ve been a tragedy,” George Head said.