Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging vulnerable residents to take steps to protect themselves from falling victim of a serious house fire.
The call comes after crews from Hanley and Newcastle attended an incident in Gilman Street, Stoke-on-Trent, at 8.44pm on Thursday August 9th following reports of a house fire.
When crews arrived an elderly man had already been dragged from the property by a local resident, who went to help after becoming aware of the fire. Both the occupier and his rescuer, who wishes to remain anonymous, were treated by paramedics for minor smoke inhalation at the scene. The man, aged 66, was taken to Royal Stoke Hospital for further treatment but has since been released.
The firefighters wore breathing apparatus and used two hose reel jets to put out the fire, which started in the front bedroom.
Station Manager Martin Weaver said:
“It is thanks to the brave and selfless actions of this woman that the occupier was not seriously injured during this blaze. Although we would never encourage a member of the public to enter a burning building her actions are to be commended.
“After carrying out a fire investigation we believe the resident was smoking in his bedroom when his cigarette set nearby materials alight. Although he was able to get himself downstairs he was unable to leave his home due to his poor mobility.
“The upstairs front bedroom of the house has been totally gutted by the fire and the rest of the house is severely smoke damaged.
“This incident serves as a stark reminder to take care when smoking and not to smoke in bed. Please be sure to use an appropriate ash tray to dispose of cigarettes and don’t leave them near flammable materials. Ash from a cigarette can easily fall and cause nearby items to catch fire.
“Smoking is one of the main causes of fire deaths in Staffordshire, which is highlighted in our SAME campaign. The campaign raises awareness of smoking and the other factors most linked to fire deaths; alcohol, mobility issues and being elderly.
“If you or anyone you know is affected by any of the above factors we’d urge you to please get in touch with our Community Advice Team so we can help you protect yourself from fire in your home.”
For more information on the SAME campaign visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/campaigns/fire-death-factors/ or for general safety advice call the Service’s FREE Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999.