A THIRTEENTH-FLOOR flat blaze which left a pensioner in hospital was started by “carelessly discarded smoking material”, an investigation has found.
The 70-year-old was carried from his home in Eglinton Tower, Monkwearmouth, after the intensity of the fire caused the flat windows to blow out.
The pensioner was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering smoke inhalation.
His injuries are not thought to be life- threatening.
Residents were left stunned by the incident, describing hearing a loud bang before seeing smoke billowing out of the windows.
Five fire engines, including one equipped with a skylift, arrived at the scene within minutes and the building was evacuated.
Today, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, which launched an investigation shortly after the blaze last Friday, confirmed that it had been caused by “carelessly discarded smoking material”.
Chris Lowther, area manager for service delivery, said: “Our thoughts and wishes remain with the man and his family and we hope he makes a full recovery.”
“I would like to remind people not to underestimate the dangers associated with smoking in the home.”
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued the pensioner from his burning flat.
The blaze destroyed the lounge and the remainder of the property was severely damaged by smoke.
“Smoking related fires are the main cause of death in house fires,” said Mr Lowther.
“I would urge any smokers to either give up or pay careful attention to ensure that smoking materials are properly extinguished and not to smoke in bed.
“I would also ask anyone who has not got a smoke alarm to get one and everyone who has, to check it is working on a weekly basis.”