Two homes in Milton Keynes were damaged after a smouldering cigarette end set fire to a fence.
The flames then spread to the roofs of a pair of semi-detached houses in Montgomery Crescent, Bolbeck Park, on Monday afternoon.
Crews from Great Holm, Broughton and Newport Pagnell were called to the fire shortly before 3pm. At its peak, there were 16 firefighters at the scene.
Firefighters removed tiles from the roofs to make sure it wasn’t spreading inside. One of the roofs was 80 per cent damaged and the other 50 per cent damaged.
Neil Boustred, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “This month, as part of a national campaign, we have been reminding people of the dangers of fires caused by cigarettes which haven’t been put out properly.
“A third of all deaths in fires in the home are caused by cigarettes. Despite a fall in the overall number of fires caused as a result of people smoking, it’s still the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home across the country. Every six days, someone dies from a fire caused by cigarettes or smoking materials.
“Even fires like this one, which started outside, can spread to people’s homes and put their lives at property at risk.”
Last year there were 22 smoking-related fires in Buckinghamshire and 24 in Milton Keynes. The fires led to one death and two injuries.
Neil offered the following safety 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.
Buckinghamshire Fire & 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. Ring 01296 744477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book one of these visits.