A lighted cigarette may have led to a flat fire and the death of a woman from Langton Place in Bury St Edmunds, fire investigators have said.
A fire investigation is still ongoing but a spokesman confirmed ‘smoking materials’, including an ashtray and lighter, were found by the seat of the fire.
Police are yet to name the woman, who is believed to be in her 50s and who is understood to have only lived in the flat for about two months.
She had to be rescued by firefighters from her second floor flat following the blaze at about 8.45pm on Monday.
Paramedics and a Suffolk Accident Rescue doctor then had to restart her heart, which had stopped due to the amount of smoke she had breathed in.
She was taken to West Suffolk Hospital but died on Tuesday.
Police say the fire is not being treated as suspicious.
A fire service spokesman said: “While early indications suggest that the fire wasn’t started deliberately, we are investigating other possible causes, including cigarettes.”
Giles Henderson, who owns nearby fashion shop Six Whiting Street, said the woman had only lived there a short time but was a regular at his shop.
“It is a shock, a massive shock.
“She was always very bubbly, a nice person. She will definitely be missed,” he said.
“She hadn’t been here that long. We were only starting to get to know her.
“It is very sad.”
Louise Tyrrell, next door at Baileys2, had just returned to her flat above her shop when the fire happened.
“I saw flames coming out of the top window. There were blue lights everywhere.
“It is a real shock,” she said.
An inquest into the woman’s death will be held although no date for the opening of the inquest had been set at the time of going to press.
Meanwhile, the fire service spokesman said although the flat was fitted with a working smoke alarm, no domestic sprinkler system had been fitted.
“Whilst it is difficult to predict the outcome of fires, we firmly believe that a simple sprinkler system would have prevented the fire from becoming established and would then have been very quickly extinguished by the firefighters when they arrived,” he said.