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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Second death in a week caused by a cigarette lighter

17/02/2015

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Firefighters have issued an urgent safety warning following the second fatal fire caused by cigarette materials in less than a week.

"It is a very sad situation that two people in the county have lost their lives in this way in such as short space of time, taking the number of fatalities caused by smoking materials to five since last April alone." 

Director of Prevent and Protect Dean Stevens

An investigation into the second fire, which happened at a mid-terrace bungalow on Old School Lane in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent found that the 62-year-old male occupant died after his clothing accidentally caught light.

The Service was alerted to the situation at 9.27am on Sunday and two crews from Longton attended. Sadly, the resident was pronounced dead at the scene.

His death comes just days after an 87-year-old woman passed away when her clothes were also accidentally set alight when she was using a refillable butane cigarette lighter.

The incident took place at a property on Ashbourne Road, Uttoxeter, shortly after 7.30pm on February 9.

Director of Prevent and Protect Dean Stevens said: “We have established that the fire was caused when the man tried to refill a cigarette lighter using lighter fuel. We believe there was a spillage or some vapour which then ignited when the man used the lighter and his clothes caught light. It is a very sad situation that two people in the county have lost their lives in this way in such as short space of time, taking the number of fatalities caused by smoking materials to five since last April alone.

“The vast majority of our fatal fires involve elderly people and we are coming across a number of recurring factors that are either contributing to the fire occurring or the individual’s ability to escape – factors such as being a smoker or drinker, having mental health issues, having physical disabilities, being isolated and having poor living conditions.

“We are working closely with partners to address these factors that put people at greater risk; however we also urge friends, neighbours and relatives of elderly, vulnerable people to get in touch with us to book a free Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC). The visits are completely free of charge and can have life changing and potentially life-saving consequences for residents. If you know someone who could benefit from a free HFRC please call us as soon as possible on 0800 0241 999 and we can arrange a convenient time to visit. They often don’t take long to do but they do have a long-lasting safety effects.”

Firefighters and Community Safety Officers will be in the local area in the coming days offering free HFRCs to local residents.