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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Shock at Seventh Fire Death in Staffordshire

01/12/2010

Staffordshire’s Chief Fire Officer has expressed his shock at the death of an elderly man in a fire at his home in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"We all know elderly people whether they be grandparents, parents, neighbours or friends – we have a responsibility to ensure these people are safe from fire."

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Peter Dartford

The man is the second elderly person to die in a fire in a matter of weeks and the seventh since the start of the year. The Service launched its Older Person’s campaign in October in response to the increase in fatal fires involving elderly people during the winter months.

The fire was at a semi detached property on Ashby Road, Tamworth at approximately 1.35am on Tuesday. A fire investigation has established that the fire was most probably caused by an electrical lamp positioned too close to bedding which had caused it to ignite. All indications at this stage are that the fire was caused accidentally.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford said: "It’s extremely sad to be reporting another fire death involving an elderly person. Elderly people are more vulnerable to fire because they are often less mobile and therefore find it difficult to get out of their property quickly – and then with winter we see increased risks from heating appliances, open fires and as in this case a lamp positioned too closely to bedding. Unfortunately many people don’t realise just how easily and quickly a fire can start, as this incident has highlighted.

"We really don’t want to see any further tragedies through the winter and so we’d urge people to ensure the elderly are safe from fire in their homes. We all know elderly people whether they be grandparents, parents, neighbours or friends – we have a responsibility to ensure these people are safe from fire. By ringing 0800 0241 999 you can arrange a free Home Fire Risk Check for your elderly relatives, not only will it give you peace of mind, it will ensure that they are as safe as possible."

Tips on staying safe this winter:
Unplug your electric blanket before you get into bed – unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use.
Always position heaters so their back is against the wall and they’re facing the room.
Never leave heat generating devices positioned next to combustible materials, such as bedding and curtains.
Keep portable heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
Make sure candles are in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains.
Put candles out when you leave the room and ensure they are completely out when going to bed.
Sweep the chimney before use if you haven’t used it for sometime.
Always keep a fire guard in front of an open fire.