A CIGARETTE caused the blaze which claimed the life of Stafford woman last week, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has revealed.
Alison Hatton, aged 53, of Tamar Grove, Western Downs, is the third woman to die in a fire caused by smoking in the county this year.
And smoking materials are the third most common cause of accidental house fires in Staffordshire.
A joint fire and police investigation has established that the fire in Miss Hatton’s semi-detached home was caused by a cigarette that had dropped onto the settee and started smouldering, before developing into a larger fire that caused significant damage to the ground floor of the property.
Fire Investigation Officer Brian Griffiths said: “This was a tragic accident that sadly is becoming all too common – this is the third lady this year to die in a fire caused by a cigarette.
“We cannot stress enough to smokers the importance of ensuring they handle and dispose of their cigarettes safely because as this incident has highlighted the consequences can be devastating.”
“We’d urge all smokers to ensure that they fully put out their cigarettes when the ha’ve finished with them and use a heavy ashtray on a flat surface. Never light up in bed and avoid smoking when you’re tired as it is very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning.”
Since the blaze firefighters and community safety officers have been out and about in Western Downs offering residents safety advice and urging them to take up the offer of a free Home Fire Risk Check, which includes the fitting of smoke alarms. To book a check call freephone 0800 0241 999.