A FAMILY home was ravaged in a fire started by a cigarette.

Firefighters from Wareham and Bere Regis were called to the major blaze in Wool in the early hours of this morning.

A resident at the property in Knowle Hill was treated for smoke inhalation.

Crews remained on scene until 6am damping down.

The fire is believed to have started in an extension of the house which was destroyed in the blaze. The rest of the house suffered serious smoke damage.

On the eve of No Smoking Day, firefighters are warning people of the dangers posed by cigarettes.

A Fire and Emergency Support Service, run by British Red Cross volunteers, also arrived at the scene to assist the five people in the house at the time.

A spokesperson for Synergy Housing, which owns and manages the house, said: “We’re aware a fire broke out at one of our Wool properties during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“We understand the fire may have started in the adjoining outhouse and the occupants were not seriously harmed.

“However, due to smoke and structural damage, the occupants are being moved to alternative accommodation until their home is fully habitable again.

“As the incident is being investigated by the local fire service, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the cause of the fire at this time.”

Phil Head, group manager at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We believe this fire was caused by carelessly discarded smoking materials.

“The message to all smokers, especially on No Smoking Day which is on Wednesday, is to ensure that you have fully extinguished your cigarettes or tobacco before you leave the room or are in danger of falling asleep.”

He added: “It’s also a timely message for friends, family and neighbours to look out for people who might be vulnerable – and give us a call for a free home fire safety check where we will advise you on a range of things including smoking safety.”

No Smoking Day, which is being recognised tomorrow, is an annual health awareness campaign run by the British Heart Foundation.

The campaign helps smokers who want to quit by creating a supportive environment, and by highlighting the sources of help and advice available.

For more information visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk