Fire service warns of the dangers of smoking following fatal fire in Knowsley

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is warning of the dangers of smoking in the home following the tragic death of a man in a fire in Whiston at the weekend.

The fire occurred in a flat on Cook Street on the afternoon of Sunday 3rd January. Crews were alerted at 2.09pm and on scene at 2.13pm, arriving within four minutes. Firefighters located a man in the lounge of the flat and carried him outside where they performed CPR. Sadly, the 54-year-old died in hospital overnight.

A joint investigation between MFRS and Merseyside Police has been carried out and determined the fire started in the lounge area of the flat. Initial investigations indicate the fire was accidental and caused by smoker’s materials. No one else was injured in the incident.

Firefighters and prevention staff from MFRS will visit properties in the community around Cook Street later this week to reassure residents, leafleting properties and offering vital fire safety advice on the doorstep.

Mark Thomas, Group Manager for Prevention at MFRS, said: “Despite the response and efforts of our firefighters, this fire has sadly resulted in the death of a 54-year-old man. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man following his tragic accident.

 “On initial investigation it appears that the incident was the result of an accidental fire caused by smoker’s materials. Smoking remains the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home nationally. This tragic incident shows the very real dangers smoking poses and we would urge those who do smoke to do so safely. Never smoke in bed and take extra care when you’re tired – it’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and it could easily set furniture alight. Please do not smoke when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and remember, make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished – put it out, right out.

“The most important thing that anyone can do to keep themselves safe from fire is to have working smoke alarms and we would urge residents across Merseyside to take time out of their day to check theirs are working. You should have at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home – ensure they are tested regularly.”

The deceased’s next of kin have been informed by Merseyside Police and Firefighters will be talking with neighbours and the local community to offer reassurance and advice regarding fire safety in the home.

These simple steps can help prevent cigarette and e-cigarette fires 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 it could easily 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.
    • 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. Never use a wastepaper basket to dispose of a cigarette butt.
    • Keep matches out of children’s reach.
    • Never leave e-cigarettes on charge unattended for long periods of time.
    • Do not mix components of different e-cigarettes.
    • Only use the charger supplied with your device.
    • Ensure you purchase your e-cigarette and charger from a reputable source and check the e-cigarette carries CE certification.
    • Fit a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it weekly. Working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.
    • Consider installing additional smoke alarms in rooms with electrical appliances or sleeping areas.

For fire safety advice, or if you do not have working smoke alarms in your home, please call 0800 731 5958.