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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Biddulph Fire Caused by Cigarette

08/11/2012

A house fire in Biddulph which has left an elderly woman hospitalised was caused by the careless disposal of a cigarette a fire investigation has established.

"This incident highlights the need for smokers to be extra vigilant if they smoke in the home. We would advise against smoking on the sofa or in bed."

Station Manager, Rob Barber

The 71-year-old woman was rescued by firefighters from her Washington Close in the early hours of the morning on November 1.

Station Manager, Rob Barber said: “It appears that a lit cigarette was left or dropped on the sofa which then set fire to the sofa. Thankfully, the property was fitted with assisted technology, meaning a call centre was automatically alerted to the smoke alarms operating and they called us immediately.

“We were able to get into the property and rescue the lady before the fire was able to progress any further. Our thoughts are with the family of friends of the lady involved whilst she remains in hospital.

“This incident highlights the need for smokers to be extra vigilant if they smoke in the home. We would advise against smoking on the sofa or in bed as it is very easy to drop off to sleep while you still have a cigarette lit or hot ash could fall unnoticed by you onto combustible material and start a fire.

“Our advice is to use a proper ash tray to drop cigarette ash into and make sure cigarette ashes and ends are left to cool in an appropriate container, such as a dish or bucket of water or sand. Never put cigarettes or ash into waste paper baskets or just flick them outside, as you don’t know where they might land.”

Crews have been in the area since the fire offering neighbouring properties free Home Fire Risk Checks and fire safety advice.