FIREFIGHTERS have warned of the dangers of non-flame resistant furniture following a house fire fatality in Cumbria.

Fire crews yesterday (Wednesday) attended a blaze at a ground floor flat in Newton Close, Carlisle, where a 68-year-old man died.

It is believed an old chair became engulfed in flames and smoke after a discarded match set fire to a waste paper bin.

Due to its age the chair was constructed of non-fire retardant foam and fibre filling which the initial fire investigation had identified as the primary cause of the blaze developing.

On arriving at the property shortly before 7pm fire crews, using breathing apparatus and a hose reel jet, forced entry and found the fire and casualty in the living room.

The fire was extinguished and the casualty pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

Cumbria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Adrian Buckle said: "This tragedy highlights the importance of fire retardant furniture, cushions and bedding.

"Fire can spread incredibly quickly and it takes hold much more rapidly if it involves older items that don’t conform to current fire safety standards.

"I’d urge people to check items around their home to make sure they are fire retardant and look at updating them if possible.

"Replacing out of date furniture does not need to be a major expense – many second hand furniture stores and social enterprises such as Impact stock furniture that meets modern fire safety standards."