Firefighters were called to a south Lincoln home Tuesday morning. Lincoln police say the resident who tried to put out the fire, 20-year-old Nathan Stokes, has been cited for negligent smoking. Lincoln fire investigators say the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
A trace of smoke could be seen pouring from the second floor window of the home at 46th and Eagle Ridge Road.
Stokes was home when the small fire started.
"I ran upstairs to go cook some eggs and I heard all the fire alarms go off. I went to the edge of the stairs where the stairs started doing down and I saw the reflection of the flame. I ran downstairs and my whole couch was on fire," Stokes said.
That's when Stokes says he grabbed two empty garbage cans in hopes of putting out the flames.
"I had the shower going and I filled them up a couple of times trying to put out the fire on the couch and once I realized it wasn't helping and the flames were starting to reach the ceiling, it was time to get out of there," he said.
Once on the scene, firefighters say things were contained to the basement but smoke had filled the home.
"There's smoke damage throughout the house. The occupant tried to put out the fire himself for a minute or two and it got out of hand, probably delayed our response just a little bit," LFR Acting Battalion Chief Steve Dolezal said.
Stokes says don't wait to call 911.
"Call the fire department, don't try putting it out yourself."
And fire officials agree. They say Stokes could have been overcome by smoke, and it could have been deadly. Inspectors say damage was minimal, and the family is back home tonight.