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Wednesday, 12 January 2011


By John Watson

It is always a tragedy when anyone dies in a house fire, especially where there are children involved and it is right and proper the problem is addressed.

In all fairness it should be noted that in the incident cited by the Brigade that 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 this, 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 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.

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 reduced.

John Watson


Anonymous said...

A cigarette.
A get out clause.
We don't know ,therefore ,a cigarette.
Could have been a candle ,wouldn't be much left of that either ?

Anonymous said...

Lightening strikes and campfires not properly extinguished cause the vast majority of all California forest fires. Couple that with hot dry summer weather and hot dry Santa Ana winds blowing from inland to shore in the opposite direction from east to west, thus spreading fires once they get going and you end up with areas that are desert to semi-desert having a lot of yearly forest and field fires.

Last July a major forest fire occurred down in Southern California which may have begun by lightening the culprit. However, during the height of that fire and with homes and lives being lost and endangered - there is no reason to let a major tragedy go to waste politically speaking - and thus the legislature in Sacramento rushed through a bill to ban all indoor/outdoor smoking in all state parks and beaches state-wide.

Never let a good tragedy go to waste - is what the radical anti-smoking brigade knows to take advantage of. And if they can take a fire and turn it into a cigarette inferno, then they will do so - with their lies and inflamatory anti-smoking rhetoric burning hotter than the tip of a cigarette can ever produce.

That is how they do it though, they take something unrelated and then politicize it, at the height of the tragedy, making hateful bigoted legislation using the blood of innocents whose deaths are tragic, but more so when someone hateful takes advantage of the situation to manufacture a falsehood from which to inflict more controls over society at large.

The secondary victims in that case are the sovereign people of the government which betrays them.

budgie said...

Was talking to a fireman today and mentioned this. He reports most domestic fires are caused by candles and electrical faults, including light fittings and the new fangled EU enforced eco bulbs, which can get very hot. Tobacco related fires are more often caused by pissheads and junkies.

Anonymous said...

Wind-blown cigarette deemed cause of fire

"PORTSMOUTH — A cigarette butt is to blame for a small fire that broke out late Sunday afternoon on the exterior walls of a Stonecroft Apartments building, a fire official said.

According to Asst. Fire Chief Steve Achilles, investigators believe the fire started after a wind gust sent a discarded cigarette butt from inside an ash bucket located on the porch of Apartment 2 into the siding of Apartment 11.

"It ended up near an electrical outlet and started the outside on fire and then it got into the walls," he said."

London Fire Brigade backs new cigarette rules - Jan 1st

"A 'fire safer standard' agreed by the European Commission will see changes to all cigarettes sold in the European Union (EU).

By November next year all cigarettes must be manufactured to have bands down the length of the paper. These will make the cigarette go out if it is not inhaled by the smoker."

"Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Community Safety Committee, Councillor Susan Hall, said: "We have campaigned long and hard for this legislation to be introduced and now it has, it will undoubtedly save lives."

Anonymous said...

The local Council leader has waded into this one....makes a change!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1 what you say is correct however I think that candle wax would leave traces behind though not necessarily visible to the naked eye while a cigarette end could be fully consumed by fire its remains contaminated by other types of ash rendering an uncontaminated sample almost impossible to collect.

Anon 2 Its always a pleasure to hear from those overseas, it seems to put things into perspective especially when they are in regard to California which has possibly the most draconian anti-smoking legislation in the world today, I have no doubt that your comments and your picture of California during a natural disaster and the political capital made from from such events will linger long in the minds of those who read it.

Budgie, The rank and file firemen and their junior officers in operations are a remarkable group of people aren't they? They tend to cut through the political red tape and get right to the heart of the matter, Once they get up to middle management they seem to lose their candour and become more of a political animal, those who do not are either passed over for promotion or put in positions where they cannot affect policy.
I grew up around these men, for there were no women firefighters in my fathers day,, I watched the changes as he was promoted up to Station Officer moving away from from operations and into fire Prevention, the one thing that remained constant was his love of the job. He would have detested todays red tape politically correct Brigade with its requirements for H+S checks for everything the modern firefighter does including how to climb a ladder correctly, I would like to meet the twenty year man who needs one of those! especially when the edict comes from an officer who hasn't been near a ladder in years.

Anon 3 The Portsmouth article embodies the whole point of the article, it starts out with a fact that a cigarette started the fire yet ends with the investigators saying 'it is believed' which basically means I don't know but it might have been a cigarette!

as for the comment from the Royalty over the Flooded Basement Brigade (the London fire Brigade because of their badge) I think that they, the EU and LFEAPA Chairman Susan Hall could have saved £hundreds of thousands by just asking those who smoke rollups who face an continuous battle to keep their cigarettes alight!

Anon 4 thank you for the heads up on Councillor Minns efforts, it is refreshing that any politician has the courage and the wisdom to ask hard hitting questions regarding the reports he comes into contact with even when that contact is second hand.

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment on the article.



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