COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Twenty homes in Southeast Colorado Springs are all nearly destroyed after a fire Monday afternoon.
Lynn Vrooman, a neighbor said, "it was bad and then just boom boom boom."
She watched as the townhomes went up in flames, hoping it wouldn't jump to her building. She said, "It could have just jumped right over to our building easily because of the wind."
The fire started at a corner home after a cigarette was improperly disposed of in a planter. Colorado Springs Fire Department Capt. Brian Vaughan says it's one of the worst places to put it.
"That compost or potting soil is filled with flammables and things that can burn," Vaughan said.
The cigarette fire started burning what was on a resident's porch, but it wouldn't have grown so big had it not caught onto the gas meter. The gas meter is attached to the pipe that provides gas to a home, so when it caught fire, it fueled the flames to get bigger and hotter.
Vaughan said that caused a ripple effect, "as that went down every unit, the [gas meters] kept failing, failing, failing so we're adding 3/4-inch gas line, 3/4-inch gas line."