‘Do not smoke in bed’ warning after inquest of Llandudno fire victim

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The dangers of smoking in bed are being highlighted by fire officers today following an inquest into the tragic flat fire earlier this year which claimed the life of a Llandudno man.

Eric Roberts, 75, died at his flat on New Year's Day, Sunday 1st January 2012.

Police and firefighters were called to the multi-occupancy building on Upper Mostyn Street at 07.00hrs.

In the incident, ten other residents of the building escaped unharmed, but Mr Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene.

Geraint Hughes from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: "Firstly, I would like to pass on my condolences and deepest sympathy to the friends and family involved in this tragic incident. This fire demonstrates that fire can strike anyone at anytime.

"Today's inquest has revealed that smoking in bed was the cause of the fire.

"As well as putting your health at risk, smoking can also put you and your family in danger of being injured or even killed by a fire at your home.

"Statistics show that smokers are thirty five percent more likely to have a house fire than non smokers. This is significantly increased when alcohol is involved.

"By following some simple precautions, smokers who do not yet feel ready to give up their cigarettes can help prevent a fire in their home:

- Take extra care when you're tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It's very easy to fall asleep without while your cigarette is still burning

- Never smoke in bed - if you need to lie down, don't light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire

- Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended - they can easily overbalance as they burn down

- Buy child-resistant lighters and matchboxes - every year children die by starting fires with matches and lighters. Keep these where children can't reach them

- Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can't tip over easily and is made of a material that won't burn. Make sure your cigarette is not still burning when you are finished - put it out, right out

- Tap your ash into an ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish - and don't let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray

- Install and maintain a smoke alarm - when a fire starts, you only have a few minutes to escape. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999. You can get a basic smoke alarm for the same price as a packet of cigarettes. Better still are those smoke alarms with long-life batteries or are mains-powered.

"For more advice on fire safety and for the opportunity to have free smoke alarms fitted in your home, please contact North Wales Fire and Rescue Service for a free home fire safety check. To register, please call our free 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234 or visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or text 88365, ensuring you prefix your message with the word HFSC."

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