Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Friday, 20 February 2009

Bedroom cigarette 'caused blaze'

Generic image of cigarettes in ashtray
Fire chiefs say a cigarette seems to have begun the bedroom blaze

A 14-year-old girl, smoking in bed, triggered a blaze which led to her and her father fleeing their home, north Wales fire chiefs believe.

Both were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation after the bedroom fire in Johnstown, Wrexham, on Thursday night.

Fire officers believe a dressing gown trailing in an ashtray caught fire.

Spokesman Andy Robb said the lives of the girl and her father were probably saved by fire alarms and they had been "extremely lucky".

The fire service said crews from Johnstown and Wrexham were called to the house at around 2335 GMT to deal with a fire in the bedroom.

A statement said initial investigations suggested that after smoking the cigarette the girl fell asleep, but was awoken by the sound of the smoke detector.

She picked up the dressing gown to move it but the garment, which had been smouldering, burst into flames.

FIRE SAFETY ADVICE TO SMOKERS
Install and maintain a smoke alarm
Never smoke in bed - if you need to lie down, don't light up
Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended
Buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes
Make sure your cigarette is not still burning when you are finished - put it out, right out
Source: North Wales Fire and Rescue Service

The gown landed in the doorway of the bedroom, blocking her exit.

The teenager's 44-year-old father heard her screams and knocked down the bedroom door.

The door landed on the dressing gown, reducing flames enough for the pair to escape the bedroom and then the house.

The pair were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation, but were later released.

Fire crews said the bedroom suffered 95% medium smoke damage and another room had light smoke damage.

Fire safety enforcement officer Mr Robb said: "Both this young girl and her father were extremely lucky to have escaped unharmed.

"Had the smoke alarms not activated, we could very easily have been dealing with another two fire deaths in north Wales.

Dangers

"Both could have slept as the fire developed, taking hold and filling the air with noxious smoke.

"The likelihood is, that without a smoke alarm, these two would never have woken up at all."

Mr Robb added the incident highlights the dangers of smoking in bed.

He said statistics showed smokers were 35% more likely to have a house fire than non smokers.

For a free home fire safety check, call 0800 169 1234, visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or e-mail cfs@nwales-fireservice.org.uk.



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