STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is reminding smokers to dispose of cigarettes correctly after a serious house fire in the north of the county.
The Service was called to reports of a fire at a home in Blurton Road, Blurton, at around 9.35am on Saturday May 13.
Three fire appliances attended, two from Hanley and one from Newcastle-under-Lyme. Crews wore four breathing apparatus and used four jets to tackle the fire.
On arrival crews found that the occupant, a man in his late 80s, had been rescued from the building by a member of the public. He was treated at the scene by paramedics from West Midlands Ambulance Service and taken to hospital for treatment for burns and smoke inhalation. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
A fire investigation found that the blaze was started accidentally by carelessly discarded smoking materials.
Carl Mason, Station Manager, said: “This incident highlights the danger of not disposing of cigarettes correctly. If you smoke it is vital that you make sure your cigarette is completely out and disposed of in an appropriate ash tray. Ideally don’t smoke in your home, instead go outside and again make sure you dispose of your cigarettes safely and be aware of avoiding nearby vegetation.
“The fire investigation found that the fire started in the lounge area of the bungalow when a discarded cigarette ignited an armchair, the fire spread rapidly. Thankfully there was a working smoke alarm in the home which alerted the occupant to the fire – we believe he was trying to get out as he was found in the hallway near the exit door.
“The man was rescued by a passing member of the public. We would never advise anyone to risk their safety by entering a building that is on fire and would instead urge them to call 999 so we can attend. However, we commend the member of the public that acted quickly in this incident, along with others that stopped to help.
“This fire also highlights our important SAME campaign – aimed at raising awareness that being a smoker, drinking alcohol, having limited mobility and being elderly are all factors that increase your risk of dying in a fire.”
58 people have died in fires in Staffordshire in the last 10 years and are the driving force behind the Service’s SAME campaign.
The Service is appealing for help from those that know someone that is affected by these factors; it is crucial that the message gets across to prevent more families losing loved ones.
People are urged to dispose of smoking materials properly, avoid cooking or smoking in bed/on the sofa when drunk. Those with poor mobility and those aged over 65 are urged to contact the Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999 for advice as they may need to receive a Safe and Well visit.