(Update)Bluffs Fire Chief: Smoking contributed to house fire Thursday night

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April 13th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — Council Bluff officials now say a man injured in a house explosion was smoking too close to combustible materials. Fire Chief Alan Byers says 38-year-old James Aherns suffered critical burns in the blast and fire that happened Thursday night. Aherns was taken to an Omaha hospital. Byers said earlier that Aherns had been manufacturing fireworks when the explosion happened, but later said he was smoking to close to “combustible/flammable materials.” Aherns’ mother, who was also in the house but not injured, told firefighters her son had fireworks in his room. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.