Smoking believed to be cause of fatal fire in Littlehampton


A fire which has claimed the life of an elderly woman in Littlehampton is believed to have been started by smoking materials.  

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to Harwood Road in Littlehampton at 12.10pm on Saturday (October 10) following a report of a fire in a terraced house.

Firefighters from Littlehampton were at the scene within 4 minutes of the alarm being raised and were confronted with a well-developed fire on the ground floor of the property.

A team wearing breathing apparatus entered the house and discovered the woman, who was in her 70s and has not yet been named, in the living room. Sadly, the woman was declared dead at the scene.

Two other people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. 

The blaze was extinguished by fire crews using two hose reels and two jets. Four fires engines, fire service command and support vehicles, South East Coast Ambulance Service, Sussex Police and the Red Cross' Fire Emergency Support Service all attended the scene.   

A joint investigation has been carried out by Fire Officers and Sussex Police and the fire is believed to have been started accidentally by smoking materials.     

Fire Investigation Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Mark Hayter, said:

"This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the lady's family and friends at this time. We'd like to remind people that we offer free Home Safety Visits where firefighters visit homes by appointment to give fire safety advice and fit detection equipment where needed. We prioritise those who are elderly or more vulnerable.

"Nationally, smoking is still the biggest cause of death in accidental house fires. We are urging smokers to please stub cigarettes out properly and remember to dispose of hot ashes carefully.”    

To request a Home Safety Visit call 0845 872 9719 or visit our home safety advice pages.  

For advice and support on quitting smoking call 0300 100 1823 or visit 

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Last updated:
6 February 2018

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