LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin man is in jail for arson after allegedly causing his house to catch fire while cooking methamphetamines.
According to the arrest affidavit, Lufkin Fire Department responded to a call about a structure fire in the 300 block of Hubbard Street on April 9. When they arrived, the house was partially engulfed in flames. The firefighters were able to put out the fire and save the house.
Officials say Jason Nash, 35, of Lufkin was inside the home along with two other residents when the fire started.
According to Arson Investigator, Steve McCool, of the Lufkin Fire Department, Nash said he was inside the home making meth. Nash was mixing flammable liquids on the washing machine, and some of the liquid spilled onto the floor. Nash said the spill startled him, causing him to accidentally drop a lit cigarette out of his mouth onto the floor. The cigarette caused the liquid he spilled to catch on fire. The fire began spreading quickly, forcing Nash to escape the house through the bedroom window along with the other two residents.
Nash was booked into the Angelina County Jail for arson of a habitation-, which is a third degree felony.
According to McCool, cigarettes are a common way to start house fires, which can quickly turn deadly.
"It's one of the leading causes of fatalities in homes," said McCool.
Fire officials say all it takes is one cigarette to get a fire going.
"It's not only dangerous to your health because of the smoke itself or to others because of the second hand smoke, but it's a fire hazard. And, a fire can affect your entire family. You smoking in bed risks the lives of your children and anyone else in the home," said McCool.
Nearly a year ago, a large fire set the scene at Silvercreek Apartments. Destroyed homes stemmed from one cigarette that was not put out properly. In that same careless manner, several wildfires were sparked last summer.
"Last year, we had a small percentage of the fires caused by cigarettes, but it amounted to 24,706 acres," said Jan Amen, Fire Prevention Specialist for the Texas Forest Service.
With the severe drought conditions East Texas faced last year, it didn't take much for even a small fire to get out of hand.
"A forest fire can be deadly. People die in fires. Homes are destroyed completely to the ground in fires. We don't want that to happen, no matter what it's caused by. But, throwing a lit cigarette out is just stupid," said Amen.
Officials say before you throw away a cigarette, make sure the fire is completely out.