AN ELDERLY disabled woman was fighting for her life last night after being rescued from a fire at her bungalow.
Sheila Lloyd was pulled from her bedroom on Abbots Walk, Holywell, by firefighters after a blaze ripped through her home late on Wednesday night.
Initial investigations indicate the fire was started by smoking materials, which ignited the bedding.
The 69-year-old uses a wheelchair and lives alone in sheltered housing owned by Flintshire Council and receives full-time care.
She was taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital before being transferred to the specialist burns unit at Whiston Hospital on Merseyside in a critical condition.
Yesterday neighbours told of their shock and described Miss Lloyd as a “lovely neighbour” but said due to the health condition, Friedreich's ataxia, she spent an increasing amount of her time indoors.
Crews from Holywell and Flint were called to the bungalow just before 11pm after being alerted by the council’s Carelink service, when a smoke detector activated and there was no response from Miss Lloyd.
When they arrived at the semi detached bungalow, firefighters were confronted with a well developed fire in the bedroom and wore breathing apparatus to rescue Miss Lloyd.
Other neighbours said they saw flames on the curtains and in the hall and saw Miss Lloyd being treated by emergency services outside.
The fire service is now warning of the dangers of smoking in bed.
Darren Jones, from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This incident clearly highlights the dangers of smoking materials and the life saving properties of smoke alarms.
"Many smoking related fires happen at night when people fall asleep or smoke in bed and furniture or fabrics are set alight.
“It is vital to make sure all smoking materials are put out safely, especially before bed time. The best way to cut the risk is not to smoke indoors at all.”
A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “A full investigation is being undertaken by the fire service and the council will be co-operating fully with this investigation."
Following the blaze firefighters were out in the area offering free home fire safety checks to residents.
For more information about the safety checks call 0800 169 1234 or visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk.
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