The Chesterton Fire Department believes that a smoldering cigarette probably
caused the fire which extensively damaged a home on Dakota Street early
Fire Chief Mike Orlich told the Chesterton Tribune today that one of
the occupants of the home—located at 2382 Dakota St. and owned by William
and Robin Rasco—advised investigators that, around 10 p.m. Monday, he’d been
smoking a cigarette on the home’s back deck. On finishing the cigarette, the
occupant put it in a cast iron pot which he commonly used for the disposal
of butts, Orlich said.
That pot—which was set “right up against the house and was full of
butts”—appears to have been the point of origin for the fire, Orlich said.
Investigators now believe that the cigarette was still smoldering and
subsequently ignited the other butts in the pot and that the heat generated
was sufficient to start the wall of the home on fire, Orlich noted. “We’ve
had fires like that before.”
Orlich added that investigators have eliminated all other possible
accidental causes of the fire.
The blaze caused an estimated $125,000 damage to the structure and $50,000
Porter Assistant Fire Chief Jay Craig sustained a minor injury when a piece
of plywood fell on him while inside the residence.