A man has had a lucky escape following a serious fire at his flat in Stafford shortly before midnight.
"We repeat this message time and time again, but it seems a lot of people don’t appreciate how dangerous one small cigarette can be if it isn’t put out properly."
Station Manager, Alan McEntire
Firefighters were called to the incident on West Way, Highfields, Stafford at 11.50pm last night. At the height of the incident there 39 firefighters from Rising Brook, Stafford, Gnosall, Penkridge, Stone, Eccleshall and Hanley.
When crews arrived smoke and flames were billowing out of the front and rear of the two storey flat, which was situated above a row of shops. The occupier of the flat and a neighbour had already evacuated, however crews evacuated the whole block due to the seriousness of the fire. A man and a woman were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation but did not attend hospital.
Crews tackled the fire externally and used an aerial ladder platform to tackle the fire from above, as the fire had quickly spread across the roof to a neighbouring flat.
Station Manager, Alan McEntire said: "You only have to look at how much damage has been caused to see that the man who lived in the flat had an extremely lucky escape. The fire was started accidentally and the most likely cause looks to be a discarded cigarette.
"We repeat this message time and time again, but it seems a lot of people don’t appreciate how dangerous one small cigarette can be if it isn’t put out properly. If you do insist on smoking indoors then always use a sturdy ash tray placed on a flat surface and ensure your cigarettes are fully out. The statistics speak for themselves; one person dies every three days in a fire caused by cigarettes."
The incident was scaled down at 3.45am and one crew, brought in from Longton, remained at the scene until 6am to ensure there were no remaining hotspots of fire. A crew from Stafford then carried out a re-inspection at 9am this morning before closing the incident.
The fire has completely destroyed the flat where the fire started and has caused damage to the bedroom of the neighbouring flat and some minor damage to the roof of the next door but one flat.