Firefighters have issued a safety reminder after a discarded cigarette is believed to have caused a fire at a hostel in Bondway, Lambeth
Two fire engines and 10 firefighters and officers were called to the blaze which damaged half of the bedroom of a first floor flat. Around 35 people left the building before the Brigade arrived and there were no reports of any injuries.
The Brigade’s fire investigators believe the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials which set light to bedding.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Incidents like this show how important it is to ensure that you always carefully dispose of cigarettes, matches and other smoking materials.
“Smoking materials that are accidently dropped or left to smoulder can cause serious fires.
“We’d rather you didn’t smoke at all, but if you do then there are some simple safety tips you can follow to keep safe, including smoking outside, never smoking in bed, not leaving cigarettes unattended and using proper ashtrays which can’t tip over.”
The Brigade was called at 2043 and the fire was under control at 2304. Fire crews from Lambeth attended the scene.
The Brigade’s top 10 smoking safety tips
- It's safer to smoke outside, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
- Never smoke in bed, and avoid smoking on arm chairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep.
- Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
- Use proper ashtrays, which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly.
- Don't balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray, or anything else – they can tip and fall as they burn away and cause a fire.
- Don’t leave lit pipes or cigarettes unattended.
- Always empty ashtrays carefully. Make sure smoking materials are out, cold and preferably wet them before throwing into a bin – never use a wastepaper basket.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach, and buy child resistant lighters.
- Never smoke if you use healthcare equipment like medical oxygen or an air flow pressure relief mattress. If you use paraffin-based emollient creams, ask for non-flammable alternatives instead.
- Consider additional safety measures such as fire retardant bedding or nightwear.
- For smokers who aren't ready to quit yet, e-cigarettes (vapes) are a better option from a fire safety perspective. Dropping an e-cigarette on a carpet, duvet or armchair won't start a fire.
- However you should only use the battery and charger provided with the e-cigarette, avoid leaving them on charge overnight, never use a damaged one and never vape close to medical oxygen.