Cig­a­rette safety warn­ing af­ter pair of fires

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

FIRE­FIGHT­ERS have warned smok­ers af­ter two fires in three days were caused by cig­a­rettes.

One el­derly man re­turned home to find his house ablaze from a rel­a­tive’s dis­carded cig­a­rette.

And an­other pen­sioner suf­fered se­vere burns af­ter an un­ex­tin­guished dog end set his flat alight.

Ash­ford Fire Sta­tion man­ager Lee Rose said: “This high­lights the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing cig­a­rettes and other smok­ing ma­te­ri­als are ex­tin­guished com­pletely and dis­posed of safely.

“Also, I can­not stress enough the im­por­tance of fit­ting work­ing smoke alarms as early warn­ings.”

The first fire was re­ported at Kil­ndown Close, Stan­hope, when the 79-year-old oc­cu­pant re­turned to his home and found smoke pour­ing from his liv­ing room.

Two fire en­gines at­tended at 2pm on Satur­day, May 1, and fire­fight­ers en­tered the prop­erty wear­ing breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus.

They dis­cov­ered a smoul­der­ing fire, thought to have been caused by a dis­carded cig­a­rette in a waste paper bin be­hind the lounge sofa.

Crews stopped the fire spread­ing be­yond the room, but it was dam­aged by heat and smoke.

Mr Rose said: “It ap­pears the relatives of the man had been smok­ing in the prop­erty and un­know­ingly caused the blaze be­fore leav­ing. This was a slow­burn­ing fire caus­ing thick smoke-log­ging.

“It is lucky the oc­cu­pant came home when he did, oth­er­wise the fire could have con­tin­ued to de­velop un­no­ticed, spread­ing through­out the house.”

The sec­ond fire took place just be­fore 7.20pm on Mon­day, May 3, when a man in his 60s had to be res­cued by fire­fight­ers af­ter his flat at Joseph Had­lum Court, East­ern Av­enue, Ash­ford, caught alight.

The vic­tim was taken to hos­pi­tal with se­vere burns.

Again, fire­fight­ers say the blaze stemmed from a dis­carded cig­a­rette.

The fire at a com­plex of homes for the el­derly saw neigh­bour­ing flats evac­u­ated, with 10 pen­sion­ers flee­ing their homes.

Crews gave fire safety ad­vice to neigh­bour­ing homes af­ter both blazes.

They fit­ted two smoke alarms at the Kil­ndown Close prop­erty. Homes at Joseph Had­lum Court, as a shel­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion com­plex, al­ready had them.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne PD1704601

Joseph Had­lum Court – scene of one of the fires

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