House fire in March caused by cigarette was third in a week and the 26th in past 11 months across Cambridgeshire

09:15 26 February 2014

Wimblington Road, March, fire. Crews at the scene of a blaze which broke out in a bedroom.

Wimblington Road, March, fire. Crews at the scene of a blaze which broke out in a bedroom.

Archant

A house fire in March caused by a cigarette was the third in a week across the county and the 26th such fire in the past 11 months.

Fire chiefs are sending out stark safety warnings following the latest three fires which took place in Huntingdonshire and Fenland between last Thursday and Monday.

Group Commander Chris Parker, head of community safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fires in the home like these, started by the careless actions of smokers, can be easily avoided.

“Luckily, no one involved in these incidents has been hospitalised, however, the story could have ended very differently as a fire started by a cigarette can tear through a home within minutes.”

In 2012/13, there were 27 accidental fires in the home in Cambridgeshire caused by smoking, which resulted in eight casualties either being taken to hospital or checked at the scene by paramedics.

Between April 1, 2013, and February 24, 2014, there have been 26 accidental fires in the home in Cambridgeshire caused by smoking which resulted in two fire deaths, and six casualties either being taken to hospital or checked by paramedics.

Mr Parker said: “Never leave a lit cigarette unattended is the golden rule, and always make sure you dispose of hot ashes carefully. If you smoke when tired, or after drinking alcohol, the risk of falling asleep with a hot cigarette in your hand is high so never smoke in a chair if you think you may doze off, and never smoke in bed. “At all of the incidents in the past week, residents thankfully had a working smoke alarm which alerted them to the fire. Residents should make sure they have a correctly fitted, working smoking alarm, tested weekly, on each floor of their house.”

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