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Fire that destroyed Meridian home ignited by improperly disposed cigarettes

Two people were displaced and a firefighter was injured in a house fire Friday night — and the cause was determined to be improperly disposed smoking materials in a pot behind the house, city fire officials said Monday.

“Do not put out cigarettes in potted plants or planters with potting soil because it is high in moss and bark pieces which can cause smoldering and can eventually lead to flames,” Meridian Fire Deputy Chief of Prevention Joe Bongiorno said.

The fire was reported at 8:21 p.m. in the 1800 block of Lonesome Dove Street, according to fire information provided by city spokeswoman Kaycee Emery.

The residents of the house weren’t there at the time the fire broke out. Responding firefighters found the flames moving up the exterior of the back of the house, then engulfing the attic and roof. They rescued two dogs and a snake from the fire, the Associated Press reported.

Meridian firefighters received assistance from Boise and Eagle fire departments, and they were able to hold the fire to the attic and roof. While searching for hotspots in the ceiling of the kitchen, a Meridian firefighter was hit in the head by a piece of drywall — and that knocked him to the floor.

The firefighter had severe neck pain and was taken by ambulance to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, where he was treated and released later that night. He is expected to make a full recovery.

The Meridian Fire Department’s burnout fund was tapped to assist the family.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413