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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Elderly Woman Dies After House Fire

An elderly lady has died following a fire at her home on New Years Day. The lady is the third elderly person to die in less than a month, in the county, as a result of a house fire.

The death has further reinforced Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s push to ensure that all elderly people receive a home fire risk check visit from them.

"We cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure elderly people are as safe as possible in their homes."

Peter Dartford, Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The 89-year-old lady suffered severe burns following the fire at her home in Macdonald Crescent, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent .

The lady, who was being cared for in the burns unit at Selly Oak Hospital, passed away on Wednesday 27th January.

Two crews from Longton attended the incident shortly after 5pm on New Years Day. When crews arrived the fire was already out, however a fire investigation established that the lady’s clothes had caught fire when she had stood too close to an open flame gas fire.

The lady suffered 60% burns to her lower body as a result of the incident.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Peter Dartford said: "It's extremely sad to be reporting a third fire death in less than a month – we cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure elderly people are as a safe as possible in their homes.

"In recent years we have a seen a number of elderly people die due to fires caused by heating devices, such as open fires and real flame heaters. This particular incident was very similar to one that happened the previous year on New Years Eve, when a 94 year old lady’s clothing caught alight from the open fire – unfortunately she also died as a result.

"With low temperatures expected to remain with us throughout February, it's crucial for us to ensure that elderly people are keeping warm safely.

“Eighty-four per cent of our fire deaths since 2007 have involved those over the age of 65 – the statistics speak for themselves. 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.

"We are currently running a campaign called 'Young at Heart, Safe at Home' which aims to raise awareness of fire safety amongst the elderly and those who care for them.

"We'd urge people to support the campaign by letting us know about elderly people who need a visit from us and by signposting us to groups and clubs where elderly people congregate – if we don’t know about these people, we can’t help them."

The Service is also encouraging people to join its Facebook Group 'STOP Elderly People Dying in Fires.' The group has already attracted over 450 members – people who join the group are urged to book a home fire risk check for elderly people they know and spread the word about ensuring elderly people are safe from fire.