CIGARETTES have been blamed for two fatal fires within 48 hours, prompting a renewed warning about smoking at home.
Both victims died in late-night blazes at home and cigarettes have emerged as the most likely cause of the tragedies.
On Saturday night, a woman was found dead in her flat in Mid Calder, West Lothian, after a fire in her living room.
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue received a 999 call reporting a flat alight at Spottiswood Gardens, Mid Calder, shortly before 11pm.
The 66-year-old was found in her living room. Firefighters said it was immediately obvious the woman had been killed by the blaze.
Fire investigators and detectives are investigating the cause of the fire and early findings indicate that “smokers’ materials” were related to the cause of the blaze.
The day before, in the early hours of Friday morning, a 41-year-old man died in Edinburgh after a fire believed to have been started by a discarded cigarette.
Firefighters were called to the top floor flat of a three storey building in Niddrie Mill Drive at 1.40am.
The flat was heavily smoke logged with thick smoke throughout the building. Tragically, a 41-year-old man was found dead within the property.
Community Safety Manager David Lockhart said: “Two fatal fires within less than 48 hours of each other are very concerning. Investigations have not yet been concluded into these incidents but it is very likely that both of these fires were caused by discarded cigarettes.
“The effects of incidents like these are absolutely devastating upon individuals and families and my sincere sympathy goes out to those affected over the last few days.
“I’m asking the people of Edinburgh, the Lothians and Borders to be more aware of the increased risk of a fire within their home when smoking. In many incidents where cigarettes start a fire, it is entirely preventable. A few simple safety measures when smoking can prevent fires from happening.
David added: “Since January 2011 the Service has dealt with eight accidental dwelling fires which have resulted in a fatality and of these, seven appear to have been caused by smoking or smoking materials. We cannot stress enough to people the risk of fires in the home associated with smoking and we ask that people take extra care when smoking in the home.
“I would also urge people who have family members or who care for someone who is a smoker and who is possibly not very mobile or considered as vulnerable, to discuss with them the risks of smoking in the home and what can be done to prevent a fire from happening. You can arrange a free home safety visit for them where firefighters will come and give them fire safety advice specific to their own circumstances and will fit a free smoke alarm.
“It is also well documented that the consumption of alcohol reduces your awareness of fire and your ability to react in a fire situation. People should be extra cautious whilst smoking and drinking alcohol.”