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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Leek Man Lucky to be Alive after Cigarette Fire

12/12/2011

A 58-year-old Leek man is lucky to be alive after a fire in his Portland Street North home in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"We cannot stress how essential working smoke alarms are – you can’t assume you’ll be woken up by a fire before it’s too late because the chances are you won’t."

Station Manager, Ruth Watchorn-Rice

He did not have any smoke alarms.

The man had smoked a cigarette before going to bed and had tipped the contents of his ashtray into a waste paper bin in his living room. He was then woken up by sounds of crackling a short time afterwards and discovered a fire in his living room.

The man called 999 and then threw water over the fire, extinguishing it before crews arrived but in doing so created a lot more smoke.

Station Manager, Ruth Watchorn-Rice said: "A crew from Leek were sent to the incident and found a severely smoke logged property and a man waiting outside suffering from smoke inhalation.

"An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital whilst firefighters ventilated the property. There has been some serious fire damage to the living room as well as smoke logging throughout the property.

"The man is incredibly lucky to be alive as he was only alerted to the fire when the sound of crackling woke him up – there was already a considerable amount of smoke downstairs by that point.

"There were no smoke alarms fitted in the property which would have given him an early warning to the fire. We cannot stress how essential working smoke alarms are – you can’t assume you’ll be woken up by a fire before it’s too late because the chances are you won’t.

"Crews fitted smoke alarms for the man before leaving the property and we would advise anyone who smokes inside their house to ensure they dispose of smoking materials appropriately.

"Never drop hot ash into bins as it could set other discarded items and even the bin itself on fire."

Crews left the scene at 4.45am.