Firefighters in Norfolk faced more serious blazes last year, figures reveal

Fire crews at the scene of a house blaze on Mousehold Lane in Norwich. Picture Dan Grimmer.

Fire crews at the scene of a house blaze on Mousehold Lane in Norwich. Picture Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

Firefighters in Norfolk faced more serious fires last year, according to new figures.

It bucked the trend across England, where the number of fires dropped slightly after increasing each of the previous two years.

In 2017/18, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service went out to 1,292 primary fires – those which cause damage, and may involve casualties or require people to be rescued – 82 more than during the previous year.

That was a 14pc drop from the 1,507 recorded in 2010-11, when the data was first published.

However, there were fewer primary fires in 2016-17, when 1,210 were recorded.

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May 2017 was the month with the most fires in the past financial year, with Norfolk's firefighters called to 139 during the month.

There were two fatalities in fires in 2017-18, and 85 casualties.

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Because the figures are for the financial year from April 2017 to the end of March 2018, they do not take into account last year's summer heatwave, which saw firefighters tackle a string of blazes.

In Suffolk, firefighters faced fewer serious fires than the previous year.

In 2017/18 Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service went to 801 primary fires.

That was 77 fewer than the previous year.

April and August 2017 saw the most fires, with Suffolk firefighters called to 83 during each of those months.

There were three fatalities in fires in 2017/18 and 75 casualties.

Nationally, there were more than 74,000 primary fires in 2017-18, a 1pc drop on the previous year, and 20pc fewer than in 2010-11.

Firefighters attended 333,000 incidents, including 166,000 non-fire incidents, the figures show. They also received 233,000 false alarms.

The Fire Brigades Union has disputed the figures, saying that its own research showed fire staff were attending more incidents – but that the number of firefighters has been cut by a fifth.

It said fire incidents rose by 3pc to just under 170,000 in the last year, the highest number for four years.

A Home Office spokesman said: 'The government recognises the vital role firefighters continue to play in protecting communities.

'We are confident that fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work.'

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