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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Potentially life-saving advice given to Blurton residents following fatal fire

22/01/2014

Crews have been meeting members of the community in Blurton to give residents potentially life-saving advice following a fatal flat fire in the area.

"This was a tragic incident that is made all the worse by the fact that it could have been avoided. Cigarettes burn at 700 degrees Celsius and, if they are dropped on combustible items such as newspapers in this case, the fire can spread rapidly, reaping devastating consequences." 

Prevention Manager for the north of the county Donna Broadhead

A 70-year-old woman sadly lost her life following a blaze which started after discarded cigarette ends ignited piles of newspaper in the Ripon Road apartment on Sunday, January 19.

Firefighters from Longton have had a high profile presence in Blurton in the wake of the fire, reassuring residents and offering free Home Fire Risk Checks (HFRC).

During the HFRC visits, crew members or trained technicians check every room in the property for potential fire hazards and speak to residents about their everyday behaviour in the home. Using this information, they try to identify anything that may increase the risk of a fire.

People are being encouraged to book a HFRC by calling Freephone 0800 0241 999, texting 07528 983101 or visiting www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp

The Service has also been putting up posters featuring safety advice as well as distributing leaflets at local shops, community centres and in public buildings.

Prevention Manager for the north of the county Donna Broadhead said: "This was a tragic incident that is made all the worse by the fact that it could have been avoided. Cigarettes burn at 700 degrees Celsius and, if they are dropped on combustible items such as newspapers in this case, the fire can spread rapidly, reaping devastating consequences.

"Firefighters have been out in force in Blurton following the fatal fire, highlighting the potentially lifesaving measures that are widely available to keep people safe in their homes. We have been urging residents to take us up on the offer of a free Home Fire Risk Check where firefighters or experienced technicians identify safety hazards, fit smoke alarms in properties that don’t currently have them and discuss possible escape routes should an emergency occur.

"We are also encouraging people to smoke outside and to have a bucket of sand or water to hand to dispose cigarette ends in. Following this simple safety advice could save your life."

In an attempt to reduce the number of fire deaths that occur, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is backing calls made by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association to legally enforce the installation of sprinklers in homes. Wales has already introduced legislation that requires all new domestic properties to be fitted with sprinklers as standard.

Locally two blocks of low rise flats in Stoke-on-Trent are due to be fitted with sprinklers in order to make the residents that live there as safe as possible from fire.

For more information about sprinklers visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/sprinklers.asp