Firefighters are urging Londoners to dispose of cigarettes carefully after a fire at a flat on Charles Square in Hackney.
Two balconies on the third and fourth floors were destroyed by the blaze. An air conditioning unit on the first floor was also destroyed and half of a store room on the second floor was damaged by fire. There were no reports of any injuries.
The Brigade's 999 Control Officers took 40 calls to the fire.
The Brigade's fire investigators believe the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of a cigarette.
Firefighters' 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.
The Brigade was called at 1108 and the fire was under control by 1209. Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters from Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Dowgate, Islington, Euston and surrounding fire stations were at the scene.