WINSLOW — Careless smoking was the cause of a large fire in a roll-off trash container Wednesday on Barton Street, Fire Chief David LaFountain said.

The trash container, which LaFountain estimated was 20 feet long, was being used to discard items from a Barton Street home in preparation for resale.

The fire began about 1:30 p.m. when a subcontractor working at the home flicked a burning cigarette butt into the container, which ignited a trash bag and quickly spread.

Three contractors who were at the home tried to extinguish the fire with a garden hose, but were unsuccessful, LaFountain said.

Although the fire was in a container, it wasn’t necessarily contained, LaFountain said. Flames reached heights of 20 feet and threatened the nearby home, utility lines and old-growth trees.

“It could have been pretty bad,” he said.

The fire was determined to be accidental and no charges will be filed, LaFountain said.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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