Dothan Fire

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It's that time of the year when electrical wires and space heaters are the main causes of household fires.

But Dothan fire officials say this year, it's different. Over the past few weeks, the majority of the fires have been caused by carelessness in apartments.

An apartment fire today was just one of many, that could have easily been avoided.

Authorities believe it started with a cigarette butt in a trash can.

Those living in this apartment building on Bell Street in Dothan are lucky to be alive.

Officials say a fire started in the first floor apartment while the residents were sleeping, and their smoke detectors were not working.

But they were pulled to safety by someone who just happened to pass by.

"Right when I came by, there was a fire, smoke coming out of the windows. So I opened the door and went in and there was a fire more like in the kitchen. And it kind of scared me because I saw children walking around in the house. So I told the lady to get up and get these babies out of here at once,” says Edward Calhoun.

Investigators believe the fire started with a smoldering cigarette butt that had just been thrown away. It was an act of carelessness, just like the several other accidental fires in the past few weeks.

"We've had one that was caused by a child playing with a lighter in an apartment complex. One was a stove that had been left unattended, when the resident had left, they forgot to turn the stove off. And now this one that could very well have been prevented, very easily,” says Eddie Munn.

This fire was caught before it caused any major damage and the residents were found before they got trapped.

But fire officials believe without an observant neighbor and having no working smoke detectors, this fire would have had a tragic ending.

Fire officials say simple common sense is the easiest way to prevent these fires.

Also, smoke detectors can make all the difference, but they need to be tested at least once a year.

Fire officials also say the best way to discard cigarettes or other smoking materials is to throw them in a tin can with a few inches of water.