Firefighters release cause of house fire that killed couple

Firefighters have today revealed the cause of a house fire that led to the deaths of a man and a woman.

Fire crews were called to a fire in a bedroom at a terraced house on Moorhouse Avenue, Alsager, on Friday May 29.

An 83-year-old man was rescued from the address by members of the public, with firefighters rescuing a 75-year-old woman.

The couple were taken to hospital but died several dies later.

Now a joint investigation by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Police has shown the fire was accidental and caused by a cigarette.

It is the third fatal fire in South Cheshire in recent months where a fire investigation showed a cigarette was the likely cause of the blaze.

In April a 73-year-old man died in a fire in his living room in Congleton, while an 80-year-old woman and 82-year-old man died in a fire in a bedroom in Nantwich in February.

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Cigarettes have been linked to a number of dfatal house fires in South Cheshire this year


Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s service delivery group manager for Cheshire East, Matt Barlow, said: “Our thoughts remain with their family and friends at this difficult time.

“Sadly these were all tragic accidents and could have been avoided. If you do smoke, please make sure you 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 drugs or alcohol and remember, make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished – put it out, right out.

“If you don’t smoke, but you know someone who does, please spread the message to make sure they are aware of the dangers of smoking in the home. Smoking remains the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home nationally.”

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Mr Barlow added: “It’s also really important that you have a smoke alarm and that you have an escape route which is free from any obstacles or clutter that may prevent you from safely exiting your property in the event of a fire.

“Keep your doors and window keys in a known and accessible place and make sure everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a fire. It is also worth thinking of a second escape route in case the first one is blocked.”

The fire service say firefighters and advocates from the service have been out in the areas the fires took place in to reassure residents and offer fire safety advice.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following advice:

• 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.

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