House fire in Maplewood doused; residents think caused by cigarettes tossed on leaves

Maplewood and other area fire departments put down a house fire in the 3600 block of Commonwealth Avenue that started at a little after 8 p.m. on Tuesday. There were no injuries reported.

Second floor resident Christian Hoppenjans said when they first noticed smoke they thought it was an electrical appliance so they turned everything off, then saw that it was coming through the vents.

“So we just did a lap around the house and the fire was in the back porch, it was about this tall [five feet],” he said. “We immediately started pulling out buckets, and we obviously immediately called the fire department, but they came out, they said you don’t understand, it’s in the basement. So they took care of it from there.”

Hoppenjans said the police came first with a fire extinguisher, “and about 30 seconds later the fire department came with the hose. They used a bunch of tools. It’s a plywood-backed deck – they ripped off the siding to make sure nothing was in there.”

Marissa Mareschal has the back bedroom in the house. “I heard those boys next door running up and down the stairs, they heard the fire; trying to put it out. So I opened my door for a minute and it was overly smokey. Then the fire trucks came and knocked on my door and I got out. They got here right after I started hearing their commotion,” she said.

The residents believed the fired started from cigarettes being thrown carelessly off the back porch onto dead leaves, which spread to the basement. Maplewood Fire Chief Terry Merrell was there but wasn’t available for comment.

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