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Investigators: Gilbert fire sparked by cigarette butt

Fire investigators believe the massive fire in Gilbert on Monday may have started with a cigarette butt.

“Through eyewitness accounts and also some surveillance footage and the aerial footage form the media, we determined that this was more than likely caused from some improperly discarded smoking materials,” said Gilbert Fire Captain Mark Justus.

And, it seems, the guilty party picked a poor spot to drop the remainders of a smoke.

“The area of origin — the burn pattern they found [showed] — was an area that had a lot of tubs and things of that nature stored in it,” said Justus. “And there was also some cardboard packaging, some cellophane, things like that. Obviously the stuff was stored outside so it had dried out relatively quickly which made it a little more easily ignitable.”

Over 200 fire personnel helped put out the fire.

About 90 employees were evacuated from Farnsworth Wholesale and no injuries were reported.