A fire at a block of flats in Surbiton is thought to have been caused by a cigarette thrown in a bin.

Firefighters were called at 3.35pm to an address in Oakhill Road to reports of a fire at a five-storey block.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued one woman via an internal staircase, who was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation and taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.

A small part of the kitchen in a four-roomed flat on the third floor of a five-storey block was damaged by the fire.

The Brigade's fire investigators believe the fire was caused by the unsafe disposal of smoking materials in a rubbish bin.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "Fires caused by smoking materials including cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars and pipes, result in more deaths than any other type of fire. Stub cigarettes out properly and always dispose of them carefully.

"Make sure smoking materials are cold before emptying ashtrays. Preferably wet stubs before throwing them into a bin.”

Firefighters' smoking safety tips

  • It's safer to smoke outside, but make sure cigarettes are put right out and disposed of properly.
  • Use proper ashtrays, which can’t tip over and stub cigarettes out properly.
  • Never smoke in bed, and avoid smoking on arm chairs and sofas – especially if you think you might fall asleep.
  • Take extra care when you’re tired, taking prescription drugs or if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
  • Don't balance cigars or cigarettes on the edge of an ashtray, or anything else – they can tip and fall as they burn away and cause a fire.
  • Don’t leave lit pipes or cigarettes unattended.
  • Always empty ashtrays carefully. Make sure smoking materials are out, cold and preferably wet them before throwing into a bin – never use a wastepaper basket.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach, and buy child resistant lighters.
  • Never smoke if you use healthcare equipment like medical oxygen or an air flow pressure relief mattress. If you use paraffin-based emollient creams, ask for non-flammable alternatives instead.
  • Consider additional safety measures such as fire retardant bedding or nightwear.