Cigarettes may have caused fatal fire

BUFORD — A Buford woman died in a house fire this weekend believed to be caused by cigarettes.

Neighbors called 911 when the blaze broke out at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

The woman, whose name has not been released, was found in her second-floor bedroom badly burned.

While the cause of the fire has not been officially determined, Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said the fire originated near the bed and may be related to smoking materials.

Last April, firefighters responded to a call at the same Danube Trail home that was also related to cigarette smoking materials. In that incident, a woman suffered burn injuries and was transported to Grady Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.

“This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts and prayers are now with the family and friends,” Rutledge said. “Crews made immediate entry and quickly located the woman in the fire room. Unfortunately it was too late to make a definitive difference. The blaze had burned for a while before smoke was detected by neighbors.”

Rutledge said a smoke alarm was present in the hallway, but officials are unsure if it was working at the time of the fire.

Firefighters warn against smoking in bed, especially if you are tired or if you have taken medication that makes you drowsy, and they recommend that a working smoke alarm be placed on every level of a house and in each of the bedrooms.

Families should develop a home fire escape plan and practice drills regularly, Rutledge said.