Cigarette safety warning after pair of fires
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.
Joseph Hadlum Court – scene of one of the fires