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Four escape home set ablaze by discarded cigarette

Firefighters found a first floor bedroom engulfed in flames Credit: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service

People are being warned to properly dispose of used cigarettes after a family home caught fire in Bournemouth.

Firefighters were called to the semi-detached house in Pilot Height Road at 5.30am and found first floor bedroom engulfed in flames. The fire started when the contents of an ashtray were tipped into a plastic bin containing tissues.

The family of four escaped uninjured after being alerted by their smoke alarms.

Credit: Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are reminding people who smoke indoors to remember to ‘put it out – right out’ and:

  • Make sure cigarettes, cigars and pipes are properly extinguished when you have finished smoking.
  • Don’t leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily over-balance as they burn down, and this could lead to a fire starting.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Use a proper ashtray that won’t tip over easily and is made of material that won’t burn.
  • Never tap ash or empty an ashtray into a wastepaper basket.
  • Make sure that ashtrays are emptied frequently, damping down the contents with water before disposing of them into a metal bin outside the home.
  • Take extra care if you smoke when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking. You might fall asleep and set your bed, sofa or clothing on fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and test them frequently.

Pets at risk from fires in the home

Keeping pets safe at home is the focus of this year's electrical fire safety week in Wiltshire.

Animal lovers putting pets' lives at risk Credit: PA

The fire and rescue campaign says animal lovers are putting their pets at risk by exposing them to hazards such as leaving their mobiles phones unattended whilst charging.

of pet owners admit to leaving mobile phones charging unattended
of pet owners say their pet would be a greater loss than material possessions in the event of a fire

One of the biggest fire hazards is the use of fake or sub-standard battery chargers, which are becoming ever more prevalent. With so many people now using mobile phones, MP3 players and even e-cigarettes, it can be tempting to save a bit of money and buy a non-branded charger, but these are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations.”

– Neil Chamberlain, Home Safety Manager

Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service's simple tips to reduce the risks of electrical fires in the home:

  • Ensure that mobile phones are not left charging for long periods of time;
  • Never keep your mobile phone under your pillow, especially when it’s charging;
  • Never leave devices plugged in to charge overnight or whilst you are out of the house;
  • Look out for the CE mark that indicates that chargers comply with European Safety standards;
  • Never overload plug sockets;
  • Never leave appliances unattended – don’t turn on the dishwasher or washing machine just before you leave the house or go to bed;
  • Never leave portable heaters switched on and unattended – this is particularly risky when pets are running around and likely to knock things over; and
  • Make sure you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them monthly.


Jail for own home arsonist

Roderick Lewis Credit: Berkshire Police

A Bracknell man has been jailed for two years after pleading guilty to arson recklessly endangering life.

Roderick Lewis, 58, from Mainprize Road, Bullbrook, pleaded guilty to the offence, which happened at his home earlier in the year.

On February 22 he poured petrol around the loft of the house, owned by a housing association, before lighting it. He then turned on the gas appliances and left the property.

Police and Berkshire firefighters discovered the roof of the property ablaze. The fire was, however, extinguished before it could spread any further.

DC Iain Watkinson said: “Lewis deliberately set this fire to his own house before leaving the property and walking off. His neighbours could have been seriously injured if the fire had spread.

“I am pleased with the sentence, which reflects the serious consequences Lewis’s crime could have had if not for the swift response.”