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Cigarette Fires

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is reminding smokers that smoking materials are the biggest killer in house fires in the area. Since 2009, 50% of deaths in accidental house fires in Tyne and Wear were caused by smoking materials. In 2012/13 alone, 14 people were injured in smoking related house fires. 

Smokers not giving up need to be aware of the fire risks they face, cut out dangerous habits, install smoke alarms on every level of the home and test them weekly. A working smoke alarm means you are more than twice as likely to survive an accidental house fire.  

Doreen Jenkinson, from Hebburn in South Tyneside, was lucky to escape from a fire in her home caused by a smouldering cigarette.

She says: "I was sitting at the end of my bed, smoking a cigarette and when I finished, I put it out in the ashtray and went downstairs. The next thing I knew, there was smoke pouring out of my upstairs window and I had to get out of the house as quickly as I could and call the Fire and Rescue Service."

She continues: "I thought I had put the cigarette out but I mustn't have put it out fully. Now, I never smoke in the house and I always make sure I put my cigarettes out properly. I urge anyone who smokes to do the same. The firefighters who came to the house said I had a lucky escape."

Smoking video

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Ashtray Image

Fire safety officers offer smoking safety advice as part of free home safety checks to people in households at greater risk of having a fire. They also signpost people to smoking cessation services.

For smokers not ready to kick the habit this it is important to follow these simple precautions to prevent a fire at home:

  • Put it out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.

  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

  • Never smoke in bed. Take care when you’re tired. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol when smoking. It’s easy to lose your concentration when using any sort of drugs or drinking alcohol, combined with cigarettes and this could be lethal.

  • Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended - they can easily overbalance as they burn down.

  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. Wait until the contents of the ashtray are cold before emptying it into a bin outside the house.