Dorset

Bournemouth man 'fell asleep with cigarette'

A man who died in a fire in a block of flats in Dorset had fallen asleep while smoking a cigarette, the fire service has said.

Crews were called to a small fire in the ground floor flat in Stourwood Avenue, Springbourne, Bournemouth, in the early hours of Saturday.

They discovered the occupant already dead inside.

Mike Cox, a fire investigation officer, said "the gentleman had apparently been smoking and had... fallen asleep".

'Sad loss'

He added: "As a fire service, we can't say 'don't smoke' but we can say 'if you're going to smoke, please, please ensure that everything is extinguished into a suitable container before you go to bed or fall asleep'.

"In this case, the gentleman had apparently been smoking and had, we think, fallen asleep while it was still alight.

"It is such a sad loss of life and can be easily prevented with just a few seconds worth of preventative action.

"Residents were evacuating when we arrived, which is exactly the right thing to do.

"Smoke alarms are an early warning system and hardwired detectors [which were in the flat] are especially efficient.

"However, if the occupants are unable to respond to the alarms as in this case, if the fire is on or about their person, the best advice is still, and always will be to put it out - right out."

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