Neighbours have paid tribute to a Selston pensioner who died in a bungalow fire started by a cigarette in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Sixty-six-year-old Eric Stone was carried out of his Alfreton Road home by firefighters at around 6.30am, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
It was later confirmed by Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue that a discarded cigarette which had not been extinguished properly had started the blaze during the night.
The fire slowly developed in the front room and the smoke spread throughout the property which did not have any smoke alarms fitted.
One neighbour, who has asked not to be named, described Eric as the best neighbour you could ever wish to have.
“He was a great neighbour, he was a really nice guy and would always go out of his way to help you,” he said.
“If you were doing something, he would jump over the fence to come and help, he was a salt of the earth type.”
Another neighbour, Ken Hall, said he had lived next door to Mr Stone for many years but did not know him particularly well.
“I woke up about half six and saw the police and fire engines outside, the whole road was shut off. All I know is that he lived on his own and had a daughter,” he said.
Fire investigator station manager Glenn Mears said Mr Stone’s death highlights the dangers associated with smoking materials and the importance of fitting smoke alarms.
“This is a sad way for a man’s life to end, cigarettes, lighters and matches are one of the main causes of domestic fires and can lead to a fatal outcome, as this sadly shows,” he said.
“This makes smoke alarms even more important, giving early warning of a developing problem. If it’s in the middle of the night, you need that extra alert to escape the property safely and call the emergency services.”