Stone family escape blaze sparked by cigarette
A MOTHER and her daughter escaped a blaze at their home which is believed to have been sparked by a cigarette.
Firefighters from Stone, Stafford, Rising Brook and Longton were called out to the house on Redhill Gardens in Stone yesterday morning.
Staffordshire Fire Service says two people, a mother and her daughter, were at home at the time of the fire and called 999 just after 9am, before making their escape.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and used one hose reel jet to extinguish the blaze, which broke out in a first floor bedroom.
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Officers say there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
Station Manager, Phil Smith said: "Luckily the daughter spotted the fire when she went upstairs, as there were no smoke alarms in the property so the fire could have gone unnoticed for some time.
"The woman said she had been smoking in bed and then went downstairs to make a drink.
"We found an ashtray extremely close to the bed so we believe the discarded cigarette had been placed too close to the bedding material which then caught fire.
"The bedroom has been badly damaged in the fire and the first floor of the property was heavily smoke logged."
Yesterday, the family involved were too upset to talk about the fire.
Neighbour Rachel Reid, aged 38, of Redhill Gardens, said: "I was coming back from shopping when I saw the fire engines in the street.
"I saw the firefighters throwing stuff out, once they had put out the flames."
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: "I thought it looked quite serious, because there were three fire engines.
"It's lucky no-one was hurt."
Now firefighters have issued a warning to smokers to take care when disposing of cigarettes.
They are also urging residents to take advantage of a Home Fire Risk Check – when firefighters will install smoke alarms free of charge.
Station manager Smith said: "We would urge smokers to ensure they always discard cigarettes appropriately and consider where they keep their ashtrays.
"We would also question why there are still people in Staffordshire with no smoke alarms as there really is no excuse given that we will provide and fit them free of charge as part of a free Home Fire Risk Check.
"Home Fire Risk Checks are available to any Staffordshire resident, simply call 0800 0241 999 and book your appointment at a mutually convenient time and date."