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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Woman Dies in Accidental House Fire

24/05/2011

A 49-year-old Lichfield woman has died following a serious house fire at her home on Thacker Drive.

"We would urge smokers to ensure they dispose of smoking materials carefully and safely and advise against smoking in bed or in close proximity to any other combustible materials."

Lichfield Area Commander, Phil McFarlane

A neighbour saw smoke coming from the property and on further investigation saw that a severe fire was in progress on the first floor. He immediately called 999 at around 7.15pm and then attempted to rescue the occupier with assistance from another neighbour.

The men entered the property three times but they were unable to reach the bedroom where the woman was trapped. They have both been taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Lichfield Area Commander, Phil McFarlane said: "This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family of the lady who has sadly lost her life. On our arrival, crews from Lichfield, Chase Terrace and Tamworth were faced with a severe fire on the first floor of a three-storey detached property.

"We understand two neighbours had entered the property and attempted to locate the occupier but were unable to reach her due to the heavy smoke and flames. Whilst we do not encourage entering a property when there is a fire, their actions were certainly brave and they tried not once, but three times to rescue the lady.

"The fire started in the bedroom and has destroyed the room as well as causing severe heat and smoke damage throughout the property. Once the fire was extinguished, a joint fire and police investigation took place.

"We believe that the most likely cause of the fire was a cigarette, it would appear the woman had been smoking in bed. We would urge smokers to ensure they dispose of smoking materials carefully and safely and advise against smoking in bed or in close proximity to any other combustible materials."

Detective Sgt Kiley Round, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Our officers attended the scene and liaised with fire investigators. We are not treating the fire as suspicious and are preparing a report for Her Majesty's Coroner. Our sympathies are with the woman's family following this tragic incident."

The incident was closed at 1.50am.