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Cooking sparked almost half of Norfolk’s 400 plus house fires, figures show

PUBLISHED: 14:27 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:27 28 September 2020

Firefighters tackle a house fire. Almost half of the 418 in Norfolk in 2019/20 were linked to cooking. 
Picture: Nick Butcher

Firefighters tackle a house fire. Almost half of the 418 in Norfolk in 2019/20 were linked to cooking. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Firefighters tackled more than 400 accidental fires in Norfolk in the past year, new figures have revealed - with cooking to blame for almost half of the blazes.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service went to 418 accidental fires in homes across the county in 2019/20, in which three people died and 27 people were hurt.

The figures were down slightly on the 427 accidental house fires over the previous 12 months, where there were three deaths and 50 fire-related injuries.

In 2019/2020, 245 of the fires in homes started in kitchens, with 191 directly linked to cooking.

After the kitchen, fires were most likely to begin in living rooms or bedrooms.

Twenty-three of the fires were caused by cigarettes and smoking materials, with a further 10 started by matches or cigarette lighters.

To coincide with Home Fire Safety Week, which runs this week, people have been urged to think about the safety of themselves and their families

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “The easiest measures people can take is to ensure they have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.”

The fire service says alarms save lives and, in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide incident, they provide precious time to escape.

However, in a fifth of UK fires, smoke alarms failed to activate, either because they were not working correctly due to flat batteries or faults, or because they were not near enough to the fire source to detect the smoke.

It is recommended that smoke alarms are fitted to all levels of the home to ensure maximum coverage, and in rooms used the most, because that is where fires are most likely to start.

In Norfolk, the fire and rescue service offers a free home fire risk check visit to vulnerable people, who are often referred by their families or by other organisations.

During the pandemic, the service has continued to visit high risk properties to help protect the most vulnerable residents. To request a free home fire risk check, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/fire

• Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is hosting its first online open day on Saturday. To find out how to virtually attend, visit www.facebook.com/NFRSPage


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