It is always a tragedy when anyone dies in a house fire, especially where there’s children involved and it is right and proper the problem is addressed.
Quote:- A brigade spokesman said: “We’ve seen a huge increase in fires started by carelessly-discarded cigarettes.” (What, in the home?)

In all fairness, it should be noted that in the incident cited by the Brigade, it has not been proven that a cigarette caused the fire, merely believed to have done so. It appears that where there is no clear cause to a house fire, reports tend to lean toward the possibility of a cigarette is to blame, I do not say that categorically it is the case but just that it does appear to be the case. It would be better to admit the cause is unknown than automatically fall back on ’it might have been a cigarette’.

If you add to that, claims and demonstration documented by both the press and television media that modern furniture is far more fire resistant than it was just 20 years ago! Ask any smoker who smokes roll your own cigarettes what the most frustrating thing about them is?  It is simply that if you do not draw on them regularly, they self-extinguish very quickly – unlike ‘tailor made’ cigarettes which continue to burn due to added chemicals in the paper and tobacco.

What the Humberside Fire Brigade are not admitting is that with the closure of so many pubs and clubs the increase in alcohol consumption is increasing the likelihood of a fire in the home. This is an unforeseen consequence of the Health act 2006 which denies a warm safe environment for smokers to smoke thus restricting them to their homes.

At home, there is no restriction on how much alcohol is consumed, neither is there a landlord who is well versed in the signs of drunkenness who by and large does say to his or her patrons that they have had enough, and far more often than not do not admit those who are already intoxicated onto their premises as demanded by law. It adds to the tragedy when a law that is alleged to protect bar staff in their places of employment is the same law that increases deaths in house fires, worse still that those who support this law refuse to accept the responsibility for the results of that law.

A high percentage of smokers no longer avail themselves of the local pub, after all who wants to pay £2.50 or more for a pint to be sat outside like an errant child? So, they stock up on alcohol then drink and smoke at home. With no one to advise them when to stop it is likely that such house fires will increase especially when the smoker gets drowsy and falls asleep with a lit ‘tailor made’ cigarette in hand. This of course applies to a minority of smokers, and it is not just alcohol, with age people tend to tire more quickly, and some medications will cause drowsiness but as in all things it is always a minority that create a problem while the majority pay for it.

Humberside fire service have also missed a rather important fact, in fact it was a regulation brought in for just such instances!  As ‘Pete J’ notes….

All furniture/soft furnishings etc sold in the last 15-20 years have had to have a tag on it stating that it is fire resistant. And what does the tag look like? It has a large lit cigarette symbol on it so as to be easily recognised…. In order to qualify I believe the material should be able to resist a smouldering cigarette until it goes out without combusting. My settee’s still have these labels on the back. 

Perhaps Humberside fire services prefer to ignore these technological advancements so as to be able to jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon!

House fires will always happen through a wide variety of causes but surely common-sense dictates that with smoking pubs available the numbers of such tragedies can be as dramatically they seem to have increased!

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