Fire deaths lead to call for vigilance

Library photography for the Fire Service Photographed by Conor Masterson
Library photography for the Fire Service Photographed by Conor Masterson

Fire service chiefs are urging people to be vigilant after six elderly people died in the last two months as a result of fires that broke out in their own homes.

Five of the recent string of deaths are suspected to be caused by smoking and in only one case a working smoke alarm was fitted in their home.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was treating the “unusual” deaths seriously and has called for the public to help protect elderly people as part of national Dementia Awareness Week.

Most of the people who died were over 60, four of the deaths happened in Leeds, one in Kirklees and one in Bradford.

Area manager for fire safety, Ian Bitcon, said: “Fortunately, the number of fires attended by the fire service which involve a death are very few these days.

“However, to have this many in such a short period of time is unusual and we are treating this seriously.

“We always look at circumstances surrounding the fire and these cases indicate several high risk factors. We know older people who live alone are more at risk of fire and some of these cases also prove the rule that smoking and alcohol don’t mix.”

Five out of the six people who died were men and most lived alone.

All six deaths are currently the subject of an inquest.

Home fire safety checks are free. For more information call 0800 5874536.