Cigarette started Wolverhampton house fire that killed two men

A cigarette is believed to have cause a late-night house fire that killed two men.

Investigators have identified the cause of the fatal fire
Investigators have identified the cause of the fatal fire

The blaze that broke out at around 2am on Monday severely damaged a terraced house on Bushbury Lane in Oxley, Wolverhampton.

One man died at the scene after being rescued by firefighters, while the other died later in hospital. Both were in their forties.

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) said investigators believe a cigarette set fire to a sofa, and is now urging smokers to take extra care.

Pete Wilson, the Strategic Lead for Prevention, said: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this awful incident. We will be preparing a full report for Her Majesty’s Coroner, but our investigators believe that the fire started when a cigarette ignited a sofa.

“It is a stark and sobering reminder of the fire risks associated with smoking. We are urging all smokers in the West Midlands to take extra care.

“Fires caused by smoking materials such as cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and lighters result in more deaths than any other type of fire. In the five years to March of this year, smoking was a factor in a third of the 51 fire deaths in the communities we serve.

“In the same period, we recorded 613 fires related to smoking in people’s homes. That’s nearly eight per cent of all incidents to which our firefighters responded.

“Of course, we would much rather that people didn’t smoke but do appreciate that many people find it difficult to stop. Advice on giving up is available from the NHS and a range of other organisations, and our firefighters can share valuable safety advice in your home if you request one of our Safe and Well visits.”

WMFS said that in the five years to March 2021, nearly two thirds of smoking-related incidents crews attended started in bedrooms, living rooms or rubbish. Falling asleep contributed to nearly 17 per cent of smoking-related fires in the home, and distraction to 12 per cent.

Neighbours tried to save the men - understood to be a couple - after hearing shouting from the house. Fire crews from Bilston, Dudley, Fallings Park and Wolverhampton fire stations attended the scene, and managed to rescue them after encountering the severe blaze.

One man died at the scene while the second died in hospital a few hours later

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "We heard a distressed noise and someone shouting 'Come on, get out, there's a fire' at around 2am, and then I saw the amount of smoke and realised how bad the fire was.

"The man next door had already got his family of six out and we went round the back to try and get the doors and windows open, but they were locked and the fire was too fierce for us to do much before the emergency services arrived.

"I've known them since I moved in here about 12 years ago and I'd seen them just that evening walking up the street from the shop, so I'm just shocked at what has happened to them."

Another neighbour described the victims as a "lovely couple".

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