News release text
Medway firefighters are warning people to carefully dispose of smoking materials after a bedroom fire last night (4 June) left a man suffering smoke inhalation.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s control room received a call at 6.39pm to reports of a fire in a two story house in Lobelia Close, Gillingham.
Two fire engines were sent to the scene where crews wore breathing apparatus to tackle a blaze in the first floor bedroom. It is believed a cigarette dropped on the bed started the fire.
Watch Manager Mike Robins said: “The resident – a man in his 20’s - had tried to tackle the fire with a garden hose and suffered smoke inhalation so we gave him first aid and paramedics were called. Fortunately he wasn’t seriously hurt but this is a good example of how careful people need to be when disposing of cigarettes.”
He added: “More people die in fires started through smoking than any other cause. Tobacco burns at very high temperatures – it’s designed to stay lit. This is why cigarettes can quickly start a fire, so make sure they are completely out before discarding them and install working smoke alarms on every floor of the home.”
Fire crews left the house half an hour after being called. The blaze was contained to the bedroom and damaged the bin and curtains although the rest of the floor was smoke damaged.
Key safety advice includes:
Don’t leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire. When you put it out, make sure it really is out
Use a deep, heavy ashtray which can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn
Don’t smoke in bed
Take extra care if you’re feeling tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking prescription drugs
Close all inside doors at night – closed doors help to reduce the spread of fire, giving you more time to escape
Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children
Don't discard cigarettes out of car windows as this can set light to grass verges and grassland areas and is illegal
Fit smoke alarms in your home and test them weekly