April 26, 2018

News Release

 400 Horton Street East
London, Ontario
N6B 1L7
Phone: 519 661-4565
Fax: 519 661-8419

For Immediate Release

Careless Smoking and Contraband Cigarettes
Combine to Critically Injure a London Man

Early Monday morning, firefighters responded to a multi-unit dwelling at 360 Princess Avenue with a blaze consuming the upper floor. The tenant of the upper floor apartment was outside, but had suffered extensive third degree burns and remains hospitalized in critical condition. He is expected to survive. Investigators found the fire started as a result of careless smoking, the leading cause of fire deaths in London and across Ontario. Investigators also found that the cigarettes which started the fire were contraband and lacking a safety feature found in legal cigarettes, which self-extinguish when they are not actively puffed by the smoker. The victim was burned when a chair he was sitting in burst into flames. There were no working smoke alarms in the unit.

“Despite consistent warnings about careless smoking and the added danger posed by illegal cigarettes, the fire service is disturbed that so many people are not getting the message and these needless deaths and injuries continue to mount”, says Acting Deputy Chief Jack Burt. “Our ultimate goal is to educate people in order to help them to be fire safe but our messages are not always being heard and, in some cases, they are being ignored. In this case, the law requiring working smoke alarms on every storey of a dwelling was also disregarded.”

4 of London’s last 5 fire fatalities resulted from careless smoking of contraband cigarettes. There have been 4 fires so far this year started by careless smoking or discarding of illegal cigarettes.

A fire last week at 595 Proudfoot Lane originated on a balcony of the high-rise building. An investigation found that blaze was started by the careless discarding of an illegal cigarette, which caused combustible materials on the balcony to catch fire. The fire spread to the inside of the unit, causing $20,000 damage. The balcony door in the unit directly above was open so smoke from the fire unit below extended into that unit as well. Fortunately, all occupants involved in the high-rise fire were able to safely evacuate.

For further information:
Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt
Office: 519 661-2489 (CITY) ext. 5614
jburt@london.ca