SMOKERS are being urged to ensure their cigarettes are put out properly after a blaze wrecked a Sussex home.
Firefighters were called to a terraced house at the Quadrant in Maybridge, Worthing, just after 10pm last night (Tuesday, June 2).
It was after neighbours saw smoke and flames billowing out of a first floor window and raised the alarm.
Two West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service crews from Worthing were both on the scene within seven minutes of the 999 call and on arrival faced a well-developed fire on the first floor of the property.
Additional crews were then requested from Worthing and Lancing.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus carried out an immediate search of the house and established that nobody was inside.
Despite difficult conditions, crews managed to bring the blaze under control quickly using hose reels.
Once the fire was extinguished a positive pressure ventilation fan was used to ventilate.
The fire, which has left the house seriously damaged by fire and smoke, is believed to have started by the careless disposal of a cigarette on the bedroom sofa, the fire service said.
Incident commander from Worthing Fire Station, Adam Condell said afterwards: “In this case we believe the occupier had gone out without checking that his cigarette was properly extinguished.
“Fires caused by smoking materials result in more deaths than any other type of fire but they are preventable.
“It’s absolutely vital people put their cigarettes out fully when they have finished smoking.
“If they don’t, they risk causing a fire that could destroy not just their home, but their life.”
West Sussex Fire and Rescue has offered the following simple safety advice to smokers:
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.
Don’t smoke in bed.
Keep all matches and lighters well out of the reach of children.
Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended.