THE fire which resulted in the death of a 60-year-old Bickington man is thought to have been caused by a discarded cigarette, according to police and fire investigators. John Blanche died from suspected smoke inhalation after being rescued from his blazi
THE fire which resulted in the death of a 60-year-old Bickington man is thought to have been caused by a discarded cigarette, according to police and fire investigators.John Blanche died from suspected smoke inhalation after being rescued from his blazing bungalow at 38 Lyddicleave, early on the morning of April 27.Fire crew from Barnstaple arrived to see smoke and flames billowing from the bungalow at around 6am.Mr Blanche was treated by paramedics at the scene and was taken to North Devon District Hospital, where he later died.An inquest has been opened and adjourned pending inquiries.Fire investigation teams from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary believed the fire was started accidentally by "carelessly discarded smoking material." Investigators said that, although there was a smoke detector in the premises, it did not have a battery fitted.Barnstaple station commander Glen Wells said: "Following the sad death of the occupant it is, therefore, a timely reminder for everyone to revisit fire safety in their home. Is your home as safe as it should be for you, your family and your children?"If you do not have a smoke alarm, get one as soon as possible. It is essential that a smoke alarm is checked at regular intervals and that the battery is changed when necessary. "Most smoke alarms will bleep when the battery is low of power. "If you do smoke in your home there will always be a risk, but you can reduce this by the following measures. Never smoke in bed or late at night when tired; only use fire-resistant receptacles, for example made of metal, for smoking materials. "Do not overfill ashtrays or place them in unstable places such as the arm of a chair."Cdr Wells added: "In addition, to minimize the risk of a fire from electrical items such a television sets, it is always safest to switch them off at the wall as opposed to leaving them on standby. "Not only is it much safer, it is better for the environment and switching off your electrical appliances can save some money too."To arrange a free home safety visit from fire service personnel, telephone free phone 0800 7311 822 or visit www.dsfire.gov.uk.