Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging smokers to take extra care at home after three house fires were caused by smoking materials.
“If you are a smoker please ensure you dispose of cigarettes/cigars correctly in an appropriate ashtray and make sure that they are completely out. It doesn’t take much for a cigarette to ignite soft furnishings so it’s better to avoid smoking in bed or while sitting on the sofa. Also take care not to drop the cigarette or spill ash on carpets."
The call comes after a Penkridge woman had a lucky escape from her bungalow when it caught fire yesterday, Monday June 4. The home was completely destroyed by the fire which started in the kitchen and was caused by discarded smoking materials.
Crews were called to Orchard Crescent just after 5.45pm and found the occupant; a 59-year-old woman had escaped into her rear garden where her neighbours came to her aid. Firefighters from Cannock, Stafford, Penkridge and Fallings Park attended, they wore six breathing apparatus and used two hose reel jets and a main jet to extinguish the fire. The Aerial Ladder Platform from Longton also attended to remove unsafe roof tiles.
The woman suffered smoke inhalation and was given oxygen therapy by paramedics at the scene before being take to Stafford Hospital where she remains in a stable condition. The adjoining bungalow was also affected by the smoke.
The incident comes only days after a man died at his home in Stafford after a fire caused by careless disposal of smoking materials. Firefighters brought the man outside after a fire started in his living room but sadly he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later the same day (Saturday June 2) crews responded to another incident in Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, when a serious blaze also started due to smoking materials.
The Service is therefore reminding residents about the SAME campaign which highlights the four factors that greatly increase the likelihood of dying in a house fire. These are smoking, alcohol, mobility issues and being elderly. In the last 10 years (2007 to 2017) research has shown that cigarettes/cigars and lighters have been the biggest cause of fires in which people have died, with 41 per cent of those who died being smokers.
Fire Investigation Officer Tim Hollingworth said: “This was a very severe fire which has completely destroyed the bungalow. The occupant was very lucky to escape unharmed.
“If you are a smoker please ensure you dispose of cigarettes/cigars correctly in an appropriate ashtray and make sure that they are completely out. It doesn’t take much for a cigarette to ignite soft furnishings so it’s better to avoid smoking in bed or while sitting on the sofa. Also take care not to drop the cigarette or spill ash on carpets.
“If you or someone you know is a smoker then please contact our Community Advice Team for information on how to prevent a fire happening in your home.”
The Service’s FREE Community Advice Team can be contacted on 0800 0241 999.
For more information on the SAME campaign click here.