A man had to be rescued from his ground floor flat in Bognor Regis after a cigarette left unextinguished set light to a sofa and caused extensive damage to the ground floor property.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to the three-storey block of flats at Bersted Green Court on Durlston Drive at 8.12 this morning.
Fortunately, the flat was protected by a Careline System with a specially linked smoke alarm. This meant that an operator at a 24-hr monitoring centre was automatically alerted to the fire.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the heavily smoke-logged flat and helped the occupier, who was in his bathroom at the time the fire started, out to safety.
Occupants of the other ground floor flats were all safely evacuated and the fire was quickly extinguished by the crews using a hose reel.
The occupier of the affected flat, a man in his late 60s, was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
Fire crews are reminding people that smoking is still the single biggest killer in accidental fires in the home. In the last 2 years in West Sussex, two thirds of all fatal house fires have been smoking related.They are offering a number of safety tips:
Stub out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully
Use a proper ashtray - never a wastepaper basket
Make sure your ashtray can't tip over and is made of material that won't burn
Take extra care when you are tired, have been drinking alcohol or taking medication that can make you drowsy.
Don't smoke in bed.