A Broadstairs couple had to stay with neighbours after a smouldering cigarette sparked a blaze overnight, prompting firefighters to issue a safety warning on the dangers of discarded cigarettes.
Nine firefighters from Margate and Ramsgate were sent to the house in Alexandra Road at 2.55am this morning, (Sunday) after the residents got out of their home and phoned 999.
Crews were quickly on the scene and went into the house wearing breathing apparatus. They used a hosereel to put the fire out and a special fan to clear smoke from the property.
Margate Crew Manager Glenn Leach said: "It appears that a cigarette had been discarded into a bin. It started smouldering, sparking the fire, which spread to a nearby sofa.
"This unfortunate incident highlights the importance of ensuring cigarettes and other smoking materials are stubbed right out and disposed of safely. Cigarettes are designed to stay alight and can burn at temperatures of over 700 degrees. This means that one smouldering cigarette thrown into a waste bin or discarded from a car window could burn unnoticed for some time before suddenly spreading into a serious fire, so make sure that you put it out, right out."
The residents, a man and woman thought to be about 60-years-old were given precautionary checks at the scene by ambulance crews for mild smoke inhalation.
Glenn added: "Don’t take a chance on your family’s safety - make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home and test them regularly - they are a proven lifesaver."
Get advice on how to keep you, your family or a neighbour safe from fire call Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000.