August 25, 2010

Plant Containers Represent Unappreciated Fire Hazard

Earlier this year, a condominium in Calgary, Canada was destroyed by the combustible combination of a cigarette and potting soil. A person smoking outside the building apparently put a cigarette “out” in the dirt of a nearby planter. The planter contained two flammable ingredients: dry peat moss and fertilizer. The result was a massive fire and 250 people homeless.

Condominium boards should warn residents that potted plants and planters can pose a potential fire hazard. It is a good policy to either encourage or require residents to use ashtrays when they smoke on decks or porches and when they smoke in common areas. The association’s attorney and property manager can help identify the sources of association authority in this area and any limitations on that authority.