Bird Starts Fire With Cigarette

It carried smoldering butt to roof of London building

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 7, 2014 12:18 AM CST

(Newser) – Fires started by carelessly discarded cigarettes are nothing new to the London Fire Brigade—but the culprits are usually people, not birds. Investigators were initially baffled by a fire on the roof of a building in south London, but they eventually concluded that it had been started by a lit cigarette carried to the rooftop by a bird, the BBC reports.

"No one had been up to there for a long time and there were no electrics that could have sparked a blaze," an investigator writes at the brigade's website. "We looked everywhere, but the smoking gun was found when we discovered a partially burnt birds nest. Neighbors told us they often saw birds flying in and out of a hole in the roof. We believe that one of the birds picked up a cigarette butt that was still smoldering and dropped it into the nest, causing it to catch fire and set the roof alight."

Nine people were evacuated from the building in Stockwell after fire broke out.
Nine people were evacuated from the building in Stockwell after fire broke out.   (London Fire Brigade)
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