Hastings firefighters are warning of the dangers of not disposing of smoking materials safely following a kitchen fire.
Three crews were sent to a first floor flat in Battle Road, Hastings, in the early hours of this morning (7th February) at 5.15am. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Mobilising & Communications Centre was alerted to the fire by an automatic fire alarm, which is linked to Lifeline.
Upon arrival, Watch Commander George Wippich carried out a dynamic risk assessment and discovered flames in the kitchen area. He then committed firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and used one hose reel jet to tackle the flames, after forcing entry into the property. Initially, it was thought that there was a person inside the property and a thorough search was carried out. However, it transpired that the resident had just popped out to the local newsagent and returned to discover the emergency services tackling the fire at his home.
The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, started by the contents of an ash tray which had been emptied in a bin. Firefighters stayed at the property until 6.12am and carried out a Home Safety Visit. A 'quick strike' was also carried out, whereby neighbouring properties were offered safety advice.
Watch Commander Wippich would like to remind smokers to be extra vigilant in a bid to keep them safe: "Never empty smoking materials into bins in the house. Empty them into a separate metal container with a lid and place outside if possible."
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to take this opportunity to remind people to check their smoke alarms on a weekly basis and never be tempted to remove the batteries, even for a short period of time.