Monday, July 14 - Devon house fire prompts fire service to issue warning to smokers

PUBLISHED: 21:30 14 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:18 10 June 2010

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to be responsible when smoking in the home following a house fire in Newton Abbot

DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to be responsible when smoking in the home following a house fire in Newton Abbot

The warning comes after crews were called to a fire in Fore Street Kingskerswell.

Crews were alerted to the fire after neighbours rang just after 4am on Saturday morning.

Fire crews from Torquay and Newton Abbot attended the blaze and found the house well alight.

The blaze took several hours to bring under control.

Three people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, one of whom also suffered minor burns.

A thorough investigation into the fire was carried out by fire and police officers.

The cause of the fire was believed to be carelessly discarded smoking materials.

Group manager Ray Harris said: "If you smoke in your home please extinguish any smoking materials properly and responsibly. At first it can appear that a cigarette has been put out but the embers can still burn and catch surrounding materials alight, particularly if an ashtray is accidently knocked over."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has released a set of guidelines warning about the risks and dangers of smoking related fires:

* Never smoke in bed - it's very easy to fall asleep and allow your cigarette to set light to your bedclothes or furnishings.

* Don't smoke if you're drowsy - especially if you're sitting in a comfortable chair or if you've been drinking or taking prescription drugs; again, it's easy to fall asleep.

* Don't leave a lit cigarette (or cigar or pipe) - they can easily overbalance and land on the carpet or other flammable material; and make sure your ashtray is heavy and can't tip easily.

* Make totally sure that your butts (and any remains in your pipe bowl) aren't still smouldering when you've finished with them; wet them and empty your ashtray into a metal bin outside the house.

* Keep lighters, matches and smoking materials out of the reach of children - you can also buy child-resistant lighters and containers for matches.

* If possible, shut all doors behind you as you evacuate the building, this will reduce fire and smoke from entering hallways and other rooms. This will assist other occupants by giving them more time to get out safely as well as reducing the fire spread and damage to the property.

* Don't try to extinguish a fire yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.

For a free home safety check call 0800 73 11 822.

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