Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Fatal flat fire

Crowhurst Court, Colchester
08/11/2017 @ 19:55
Incident Number: 66455
In attendance: 1 x Colchester

A man has sadly died following a fire in his flat in Colchester last night (Wednesday 8 November).

The Ambulance Service were already at the scene of the ground floor flat after being alerted by a concerned neighbour.

When fire crews arrived, the fire had largely burnt itself out. Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to ensure that there were no remaining hotspots before commencing the fire investigation.

The Fire Investigator, Lee Lucas, said:

"Following a joint fire and police investigation we believe this incident to be accidental, caused when the man fell asleep on the sofa with a lit cigarette which fell onto the sofa, setting it alight.

"This tragic accident serves to highlight the dangers of smoking in the home, and the devastating consequences they can cause. Cigarettes burn at 700 degrees Celsius and can easily set combustible items, such as sofas, beds and clothing, alight.

"We want to urge all smokers to follow our safety advice and stay safe in their home and ensure they have a working alarm."


Smoking at home

If you're a smoker or have a smoker living in your house, please follow our safety advice to stay safe.

  • Never smoke in bed - if you need to lie down, don’t light up. You could doze off and set your bed on fire. Make sure all cigarettes are fully extinguished.
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning.
  • Never leave lit cigarettes unattended - they can easily overbalance as they burn down.
  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished.
  • Tap your ash into an ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish – and don’t let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.
  • Use child safe matches and cigarette lighters and keep them safely out of the reach of children


Smoke alarms

It is also vitally important that you have a properly fitted working smoke alarm on every level of your home. If you don’t have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, we urge you to get one today.

We will fit smoke alarms at your home FREE OF CHARGE. To get yours now, please call 0300 303 0088 to arrange a home safety visit or book online:

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