Disabled man sparks early morning drama with discarded cigarette

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A DOZY disabled man sparked an early morning drama today (Fri) by setting his wheelchair alight.

Firefighters said the 62-year-old neglected to put out his cigarette before climbing into bed and woke to find the wheelchair up in flames.

He phoned for the fire service at around 1.20am and told them he was unable to evacuate himself because of his disability.

Three crews – consisting of around 18 firefighters – rushed to the Cornmill building in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders.

The man was rescued from the burning bedroom and given oxygen at the scene by ambulance staff after suffering mild smoke inhalation, but did not require to be taken to hospital.

The Cornmill is a 19th century B-listed building close to Hawick’s town centre which has been converted into apartments.

He is believed to live in one of the apartments on the ground floor.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said: “We were called to a fire in a bedroom at around 1.20am.

“It involved a wheelchair and was due to a cigarette which is believed to have been discarded without being extinguished properly.

“A 62-year-old disabled man raised the alarm after going to bed.

“Three appliances attended – two from Hawick and one from Selkirk.

“The man was brought to safety and treated by ambulance staff.

“Fortunately the man did not need to attend hospital although he did suffer some smoke inhalation.

“We would like to remind people to take particular care if they smoke in their home.

“It’s very important that you have a working smoke alarm in the property and make sure all smoking materials are properly extinguished each night before you go to bed.

“You can arrange a free home safety visit and get a free smoke alarm fitted by calling 0800 169 0320.”

An ambulance spokesman said: “We dispatched an ambulance from Hawick to number one The Cornmill.

“A man was given oxygen on-scene but was not injured.

“He was not taken to hospital.”

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