Portsmouth man burnt by cigarette in his sleep

A refugee in South Sudan

A country ravaged by years of bitter civil war and conflict

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FIREFIGHTERS are warning people to be careful after a man who had been drinking passed out with a cigarette in his hands.

A man in his 60s suffered burns to his lower belly when he fell asleep alone in his room at Mill House sheltered housing in Milton Road, Milton, at 9pm on Sunday.

The quick reactions of a support worker who heard a smoke alarm going off saved the man from worse injuries. The member of staff used water from a sink in the room to put the fire out.

A crew from Southsea fire station was called and crew manager Rob Dellow said: ‘This was an accident. Unfortunately the cigarette or his lighter fell into his lap whilst he was semi-conscious.

‘He was lucky on two counts – firstly that it was mostly just his clothes, and secondly the quick thinking of the support worker who threw a cup of water over him saved him from much worse. A lot of people smoke when they have been drinking and we really struggle to dissuade people from having that last cigarette.

‘The message we want to get across is don’t smoke when you are tired and drunk. It still happens regularly despite the potentially horrific injuries.’

The man was taken by ambulance to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, but his injuries were not believed to be serious.