Firefighters are warning smokers of the danger of not disposing of cigarettes properly after a fire at a pair of semi-detached houses on Mallard Road in South Croydon.
Part of the ground floor of one semi-detached house and most of a detached garage were damaged by the fire and a shed was destroyed. Part of the ground and first floors of the adjoining house were also damaged. Nine people left the buildings before the Brigade arrived. There were no reports of any injuries.
Crews cooled two gas cylinders involved in the fire to make the scene safe, as some cylinders can explode when exposed to heat.
The Brigade’s 999 Control Officers took 15 calls to the blaze.
The fire is believed to have been caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials.
Firefighters’ smoking safety tips
- It’s safer to smoke outside, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
- Never smoke in bed, and avoid smoking on arm chairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep.
- Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
- Use proper ashtrays, which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly.
- Don’t balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray, or anything else – they can tip and fall as they burn away and cause a fire.
- Don’t leave lit pipes or cigarettes unattended.
- Always empty ashtrays carefully. Make sure smoking materials are out, cold and preferably wet them before throwing into a bin – never use a wastepaper basket.
- Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach, and buy child resistant lighters.
- Never smoke if you use healthcare equipment like medical oxygen or an air flow pressure relief mattress. If you use paraffin-based emollient creams, ask for non-flammable alternatives instead.
- Consider additional safety measures such as fire retardant bedding or nightwear.
The Brigade was called at 1.53am and the fire was under control by just after 3am.
Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters from Addington, Croydon, Purley and Woodside fire stations attended the scene.