Man’s lucky escape as cigarette sparks blaze

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Staff reporter

QUICK thinking residents raised the alarm when they heard smoke alarms in a neighbouring house.

Fire chiefs say the occupant of the house had an extremely lucky escape following the blaze which was caused by a discarded cigarette.

The fire broke out at a house on Bran, Acrefair, at about 9pm on Wednesday.

Rachel Douglas, 27, who lives opposite, heard a smoke alarm and her neighbours called the fire service.

“I looked through the back window. You could see a cigarette in a plastic carrier bag in the bin – it was alight and smoking.”

Mrs Douglas’ next-door neighbour knocked on the door to try to rouse the man inside and called 999.

She added they feared the fire could also spread to neighbouring properties.

Another neighbour, Wendy Arnold, 66, said: “If no one had heard that smoke alarm it could have been really bad. A couple of years ago there was a fire on the estate and it went straight through the whole block.”

A neighbour who didn’t want to be named, said: “The fire was in the kitchen, two firemen went in through the back door. They knocked but there was no answer so they kicked the door in.

“They found the man upstairs and walked him down. The ambulance crew then gave him oxygen.”

A spokesman for the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Two crews from Wrexham were called to Bran, Acrefair, after neighbours heard the alarm activating in the next door property.

“Upon arrival, firefighters led the middle aged male occupant, who had slept through the alarms, from the property to safety..

“The fire, which was caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette, caused light smoke damage to both floors of the property.

“The occupant was given a precautionary check up at the scene by paramedics.”

Tony Jones from the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service added: “Smoke alarms save lives – had the alarms not alerted the neighbours we could very easily be dealing with another fire death here in North Wales.

“The fire appears to have been caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette in the kitchen.

“Our advice is to use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn, and make sure your cigarette is not still burning when you are finished – put it out, right out.

“Also, never smoke in bed – if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire. Take extra care when you’re tired, are taking any sort of medication or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning,” he added.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offer free home fire safety checks.

To register call freephone 0800 1691234, email cfs@nwales-fireservice.org.uk or visit www.nwales-fireservive.org.uk.

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