A fire which tore through a home in Seaford has prompted East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to warn of the dangers of candles and cigarettes.
Four crews from Seaford, Newhaven, Lewes and Roedean were sent to St Peter’s Road at 11.09am on Tuesday June 4 after a neighbour raised the alarm.
Fire fighters also told the public not to tackle a blaze themselves and to stay out of the building after a man was treated by paramedics for burns to his forehead and hand.
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.”
When crews arrived, the fire was well developed and had spread from the back of the property to the fence and up into the eaves of three chalet-style bungalows.
The neighbours attempted to tackle the blaze with fire extinguishers but stopped when the fire became too fierce.
Firefighters tackled the fire wearing breathing apparatus and isolated the water, gas and electricity supplies to all three properties.
Smoking is the single biggest killer in accidental fires in the home, often because of smoking in bed or smoking while drunk.
When smokers fall asleep holding a lit cigarette, their proximity to the start of the fire seriously lowers their chances of survival.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said 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.