A HOUSE fire which left a man hospitalised yesterday was believed to have been started by a cigarette, officials have said.

Firefighters had to rescue a man from his home in Seymour Park Road, Marlow, at 8.05am, after the blaze started in his front room.

Bucks Fire and Rescue spokesman, Fraser Pearson, said: “The man was trapped as his escape routes were cut off by the fire and he took refuge in the bathroom.

“Firefighters carried him to safety and have been praised by an officer who attended.”

South Central Ambulance Service has not yet confirmed what the current condition of the man is.

Fire teams have now issued advice when discarding cigarettes, with a third of all deaths in fires in the home caused by cigarettes.

Last year there were 22 smoking-related fires in Buckinghamshire and 24 in Milton Keynes. The fires led to one death and two injuries.

Fire authorities have issues the following advice:

• Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. They can easily overbalance.

• Never smoke in bed, and take care when you’re tired. If you need to lie down, don’t light up.

• Put out cigarettes carefully and dispose of them thoughtfully when outdoors or driving. Don't flick them out of cars.

• If you smoke in the garden, use a sand-filled pot as an outdoor ashtray.

• Use child-resistant lighters and matchboxes, and keep them where children can't reach them.

• Tap your ash into a proper ashtray, never a wastebasket containing other rubbish - and don't let the ash or cigarette ends build up in the ashtray.

• Avoid drugs and alcohol when smoking. It’s easy to lose your concentration and this could be lethal when combined with smoking.

• Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly or monthly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999.

Bucks Fire and Rescue Service will carry out free safety check to identify potential fire risks in your home, advise what to do to reduce or prevent them and fit free smoke alarms if required.

You can ring 01296 744477 or email cs@bucksfire.gov.uk to book one of these visits.