Fire investigators have confirmed that a fire at a flat which claimed the life of a man in Stoke-on-Trent started accidentally.
The fire was confined to one room with some minor smoke and heat damage elsewhere. Despite the best efforts of everyone who attended, it was clear nothing could be done for the man who lived in the flat and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Crews were called to the property off London Road, Stoke at 11.45 pm last night (Wednesday, January 9). Pumps from Hanley, Newcastle and Longton attended and for the duration of the incident closed a section of the main road for the safety of emergency responders and other road users. Firefighters used breathing apparatus and a hose reel jet to extinguish the fire which had been confined to one room in the building.
The property is divided into a number of flats and residents from the other units in the building were evacuated and both gas and electricity supplies isolated. A number of the occupants were assessed for the effects of smoke inhalation by colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service with three people taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, one of which was not related to the fire. All three were subsequently released from hospital.
A joint investigation with Staffordshire Police into the cause of the fire was carried out this morning (Thursday). Investigators have found it started accidentally in the man’s bedroom.
Group Manager, Ian Housley who attended the scene said: “The fire was confined to one room with some minor smoke and heat damage elsewhere. Despite the best efforts of everyone who attended, it was clear nothing could be done for the man who lived in the flat and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The detailed fire investigation carried out this morning has shown the cause to have been a cigarette which set fire to bedding. Sadly, this is a common problem with house fires. Figures from the last 10 years show that, in 48 per cent of fatal fires, the householder was a smoker and in a large number of these fires, smoking was the cause.
“Thirty-nine per cent of those who died in a house fire were regular drinkers. In a number of cases alcohol was a contributing factor as to why the fire started – often with people being intoxicated and then falling asleep whilst smoking or cooking food. These two factors, along with mobility issues and being elderly, make up the four most common factors involved in fatal fires. We try to raise awareness of these through our SAME campaign (Smoking Alcohol Mobility issues and being Elderly). If you’re a smoker, please make sure you don’t put yourself at risk by being careless about the way you dispose of your smoking materials and please, don’t smoke in bed.”