Man escapes Santa Rosa motel fire sparked by e-cigarette

FILE - In this March 2, 2011, file photo, a clerk holds an electronic cigarette and the filter end that holds the liquid nicotine solution at an E-Smokes store in Aurora, Colo. Increasingly popular e-cigarettes and cigar varieties could be exempt from some government safety regulations if House Republicans have their way. It's a move that alarms Democrats and public health advocates who argue that it could lead to unsafe products. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

SANTA ROSA (KRON)—A man was able to escape a motel room fire started by an e-cigarette by leaving out of a bathroom window in Santa Rosa Wednesday morning, according to a battalion fire chief.

An unidentified had one of several e-cigarettes on a bed in a room at the Gold Coin Motel on Mendocino Ave. around 12:25 a.m., said Santa Rosa Fire Battalion Chief Ken Sebastiani.

The e-cigarette had been taken apart and was not plugged in, Sebastiani said.

When the man came back to the room after using the restroom, the mattress was burning and he tried to put out the flames with clothing, Sebastiani said.

The man then lifted the mattress causing the fire to spread even further. He escaped the fire by leaving out the window because the burning mattress was blocking the doorway, Sebastiani said.

A damaged battery inside the e-cigarette or the battery touching another medal might have started the fire, he said.

Firefighters arrived to the scene just five minutes after the fire alarm went off and found the hotel room engulfed in flames. The fire was contained and extinguished within 20 minutes, Sebastiani said.

The burned room has $50,000 worth of damage, Sebastiani said.

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