Booze blamed for South Yorkshire house fires

Firefighters in action
Firefighters in action

Alcohol is a factor in half of all house fire deaths in South Yorkshire, shock new figures reveal today.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have revealed alcohol was a contributory factor in seven of the 15 deaths in house fires between April 2009 and March last year.

Firefighters in action

Firefighters in action

A further 110 people were injured in alcohol or drug-related fires, the statistics show.

The figures were released to coincide with fresh data from the Office of National Statistics, due to be published today, on the number of deaths caused by alcohol nationally.

Fire service chiefs warn alcohol means people are more likely to have a fire and less likely to escape their home if a blaze break out because it makes them uncoordinated and more likely to fall asleep.

Kitchen fires are particularly likely to start when people have been drinking.

Kevin Ronan, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Head of Community Safety, said: “Doctors have warned of the damage too much alcohol can do to our bodies for many years now, but few people seem to fully understand the other possible effects.

“Alcohol is a big factor behind a lot of our recent house fire deaths and causes dozens of fire-related injuries every year.

“Our main piece of advice is that if you’ve been out drinking, don’t cook.

“We’ve attended too many serious incidents caused by simple carelessness around the home – and very often it’s too much alcohol that lies at their heart.

“Advice to prevent serious house fires includes buying a takeaway and not attempting to cook after a night out drinking.

“Never use a chip pan – oven chips are much safer.

“Put up smoke alarms and test them regularly.”

A fire safety campaign run in South Yorkshire has urged people to buy a takeaway at the end of a night out rather than using a chip pan.

The service is also calling on residents to sign up for text and email alerts to remind them to check their smoke alarms are still working.