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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Fatal Fire in Biddulph Started by Gas Heater

06/03/2012

A fire which claimed the lives of an elderly couple in Biddulph Moor started accidentally after an armchair and other nearby combustible items in close proximity to a gas heater caught fire.

"A fire can take hold very quickly and this particular property had a lot of combustible materials all being stored in close proximity which meant the fire spread quickly."

Biddulph Station Manager, Carl Mason

Firefighters were alerted to the incident on Hurst Road in Biddulph Moor shortly after 7pm last Thursday night. Three fire engines from Biddulph, Sandyford and Congleton were sent to the incident however nothing could be done to save the elderly occupants.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is now urging people to ensure they are using heating appliances safely.

Biddulph Station Manager, Carl Mason said: "This was a tragic accident which claimed the lives of two people from within a close-knit community. Sadly, older people are more vulnerable to fire because they are often less mobile and so find it more difficult to escape when a fire occurs, as this tragic incident has highlighted.

"The occupants used gas cylinders to heat portable gas heaters as the house did not have central heating. One of the portable gas heaters had been placed next to an armchair and accidentally ignited the chair, the fire then spread to other combustible items in the room.

"We would urge people not to place heating appliances too close to combustible materials, such as chairs, sofas and curtains. A fire can take hold very quickly and this particular property had a lot of combustible materials all being stored in close proximity which meant the fire spread quickly.

"It is also important to ensure all exits from each room in the house are free from clutter as this could seriously restrict an escape. If anyone has any family members or friends they have any concerns about, they can call us and we will visit them and can offer advice as well as help from partner agencies."

Firefighters have been in the area offering free Home Fire Risk Checks to nearby residents and will continue to do so over the next few days. If anyone would like to book a free Home Fire Risk Check they can do so by calling 0800 0241 999 or booking it online.