Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are reminding people to ensure they dispose of smoking materials safely and appropriately following a flat fire on West Way in Highfields, Stafford last night.
"We advise against putting cigarette ends or ash straight into bin bags or other combustible items and instead urge smokers to be absolutely certain they have properly extinguished cigarettes before disposing of them."
Station Manager, Neil Pedersen
Firefighters were alerted to the fire at just after 11pm last night by the occupant of a neighbouring flat who had spotted the fire in the communal hallway of the flats.
Crews from Rising Brook and Stafford attended, and discovered that a bag of rubbish containing recently lit cigarette ends in it had been put in the hallway and accidentally ignited.
Station Manager, Neil Pedersen said: "The occupant of a flat on the ground floor of a three-storey building had placed a small bag of rubbish outside his flat before going to bed.
"He said his father had put several cigarette ends into the bin and he was unsure if they were properly extinguished, so he put the bin bag outside of his flat but didn’t check to see if they were indeed properly stubbed out.
"An occupant from a flat on the floor above smelled burning and came down the communal stairs to investigate. She suffered minor smoke inhalation whilst descending the stairs and received a precautionary check from paramedics on scene but did not require hospital treatment.
"The fire, although quite small, did cause smoke logging throughout the stairways of the building and could have been avoided had the people involved ensured the cigarettes were fully extinguished before discarding.
"We advise against putting cigarette ends or ash straight into bin bags or other combustible items and instead urge smokers to be absolutely certain they have properly extinguished cigarettes before disposing of them in a suitable ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn."
Crews left the scene at 11.35pm after posting After the Fire literature to neighbours flats offering free Home Fire Risk Checks.
Firefighters will return to the area over the next few days to carry out free Home Fire Risk Checks and offer fire safety advice.