Firefighters are reminding smokers to be mindful of how they discard their cigarettes after a fire in Ryhope Road, Arnos Grove.
Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers attended the fire in a garage which had been converted into a workshop. It contained a large amount of paint and cleaning products.
The whole of the single-storey building was damaged by the fire, heat and smoke and a small amount of fire spread into one of the adjoining houses. There were no reports of any injuries.
The Brigade’s fire investigators believe the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials into a waste bin.
Crew Manager Tony Janeway, who was at the scene, said: “The garage was very badly damaged by this fire and there was smoke damage to the house.
“Incidents like this show how important it is to ensure you always carefully dispose of cigarettes, matches and other smoking materials.
“When they are accidentally dropped or left to smoulder, they can cause serious fires.
“There are some simple safety tips you can follow to keep safe including not smoking inside, never smoking in bed, not leaving cigarettes unattended and using proper ashtrays which can’t tip over.”
The Brigade was called at 2209 and the fire was under control at 2344. Fire crews from Southgate, Finchley and Barnet fire stations 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.