Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is reminding smokers that cigarettes are the biggest killer in house fires in the area. Out of the three deaths in accidental house fires in Tyne and Wear in 2010, two were caused by cigarettes. A further 28 people were injured in 2010 in smoking-related house fires.
Smokers not giving up need to be aware of the fire risks they face, cut out dangerous habits, install smoke alarms on every level of the home and test them weekly. A working smoke alarm means you are more than twice as likely to survive an accidental house fire.
Doreen Jenkinson, from Hebburn in South Tyneside, was lucky to escape from a fire in her home last year, caused by a smouldering cigarette.
She says: "I was sitting at the end of my bed, smoking a cigarette and when I finished, I put it out in the ashtray and went downstairs. The next thing I knew, there was smoke pouring out of my upstairs window and I had to get out of the house as quickly as I could and call the Fire and Rescue Service."
She continues: "I thought I had put the cigarette out but I mustn't have put it out fully. Now, I never smoke in the house and I always make sure I put my cigarettes out properly. I urge anyone who smokes to do the same. The firefighters who came to the house said I had a lucky escape."