East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were called out to a fire at a property believed to have been caused by either a candle or discarded cigarette.
Four crews from Seaford, Newhaven, Lewes and Roedean were sent to St Peter’s Road at 11.09am yesterday morning (4thJune), following an emergency call from a neighbour.
When crews arrived the fire was well developed and had spread from the rear of the property to the fence and up into the eaves of three chalet-style bungalows.
The neighbours had attempted to tackle the blaze with fire extinguishers but abandoned their efforts when the fire became too fierce.
One man had to be treated at the scene by paramedics for burns to his forehead and hand.
Firefighters tackled the fire wearing breathing apparatus and isolated the water, gas and electricity supplies to all three properties.
Command Support Officer Julie Gilbert-King said: “Please don’t attempt to tackle any fire yourself, always get out, stay out and call the fire service out. If you do have a fire extinguisher to hand only use this to enable you to safely escape from the property.
“We would also urge smokers to discard of cigarettes safely as more people die in fires caused by smoking than in fires caused by anything else. Tobacco is manufactured to stay alight, meaning it can remain smouldering and start a fire. More than a third of all deaths in fires in the home are caused by cigarettes.”
Smoking is the single biggest killer in accidental fires in the home, often because of careless behaviour such as smoking in bed or not taking care after drinking alcohol.
And when smokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand, their proximity to the resulting fire seriously lowers their chance of escaping in time.
Without a working smoke alarm you are four times more likely to die in an accidental fire in the home.
These simple steps can help prevent a cigarette fire in the home:
- 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.
- Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape.
- 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 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.
Candles, decorations and decorative lights are a growing cause of fires and although very relaxing and beautiful, can prove fatal if left unattended.
You should take care where you decide to put candles in your home.