Fire Chief alarmed by careless smoking fires

Quinte West Fire/Rescue responded to three residential fires over the past four days. Careless smoking is the suspected cause for each fire.

“All of these fires were 100 per cent preventable and we are urging the community to follow proper safety procedures while smoking and disposing of smoking materials,” said Fire Chief John Whelan.

“It is with great sadness that we report that there was one fatality in one of the fires – our thoughts are with the families and friends of the fire victim,” said Deputy Chief Rick Caddick. “It’s important we work to educate and enforce safety guidelines to prevent another terrible tragedy like this.”

Chief Whelan and Quinte West OPP officer Dan Charland are responsible for rescuing an occupant from a smoke filled residence. Whelan and the occupant were both treated for smoke inhalation.

According to the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office, cigarettes are the number one ignition source in fatal fires. Fires ignited by cigarettes are the number two ignition source in all residential fires.

Quinte West Fire/Rescue urges smokers to follow these safety tips:

• Smoke outside whenever possible.

• Never smoke in bed or when you are feeling drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

• Never smoke while using assisted oxygen devices.

• Dispose of smoking materials properly. Use sturdy, deep ashtrays and make sure cigarette butts and ashes are fully out. Never discard your smoking material in garbage, potted flowerpots or beds, recycling or other plastic containers.

• It is best to dispose of cigarettes in a bucket of sand or water.

• Before going to sleep, check under and around sofa cushions and upholstered furniture for smouldering cigarettes.

• Keep matches, lighters and smoking materials out of the reach of children – up high and preferably locked up and never unattended.

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