Balcony fires an issue in Niagara

It's not just a Toronto problem.

Niagara fire officials are speaking out following a warning from Toronto officials to residents of high-rise buildings to properly dispose of cigarette butts following a spike in balcony fires this year.

St.Catharines Fire Prevention Officer Frank Donati tells CKTB's Larry Fedoruk using an old potted plant to put out a cigarette is a bad idea since the contents are dry and a perfect mixture to start a fire.

Donati recommends using a large deep ashtray, or a butt stop, and never to smoke while you are tired and impaired.

He also warns people not to flick smokes out car windows.

Toronto fire officials say crews have responded to 27 balcony fires since the start of year -- two more than the number of such fires reported in all of last year.

Officials are blaming the increase to carelessly discarded cigarettes from the units above.