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Warning for smokers after house blaze death inquest

Fire officers are again warning of the dangers of smoking in bed, following the death of a man in a Sheffield house fire.

They are also asking their partners in the health, housing and social care sectors to do more to help them identify those who are most at risk of fire, so that they can put extra measures in place to help prevent fatal fires.
Alec Connington, aged 54, died after a fire at his top floor flat on Manor Park Road, Sheffield.

A neighbour had raised the alarm after hearing smoke alarms in the property sounding at around 10pm on 17 February this year.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the property and put out the fire. They discovered the body of Mr Connington in the bedroom of the flat.

Mr Connington had received treatment for substance misuse for several years and was a heavy smoker. Fire investigators found more than 200 cigarette ends close to his bed, an inquest heard.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, deputy coroner Julian Fox said: “Mr Connington’s death is a further reminder that the dangers of smoking in bed can be very great and can easily lead to fatal fires.”

Station Manager Simon Rodgers, who investigated the cause of the fire, said: “No one deserves to die in these circumstances and ultimately any house fire death is preventable, regardless of any other factors which may have contributed to that person’s death. We want to use this case to call on our partners to do more to help us to identify those who are most at risk of fire, so that we can put useful measures in place to try to prevent this kind of tragic incident.”

Safety advice from preventing fires caused by cigarettes includes:

• Put out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully
• Never buy cheap, imported cigarettes- these don’t meet modern EU guidelines designed to prevent fires
• Never smoke in bed- you can easily fall asleep, starting a fire

This content was last updated on June 17th, 2015