Northern Ireland house fire deaths at lowest ever

Four people died in house fires last year, five fewer than the previous year
Four people died in house fires last year, five fewer than the previous year

The number of people killed in accidental house fires in Northern Ireland was the lowest on record last year, despite an increase in the overall number of fires.

Statistics released by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) show that there were four people who lost their lives as a result of the 896 accidental house fires in the 2017/18 financial year.

That compares to nine fatalities the previous year, and 12 the year before.

Most of the fires last year were caused by either cooking appliances or electrical equipment, the fire service said.

Smoking also accounted for a significant proportion.

Alan Walmsley of NIFRS said: “Last year accidental fire deaths were at their lowest on record – four people tragically lost their lives in 2017/18, a 66% decrease from two years previous when 12 people died in accidental house fires.

“Many people mistakenly think that an accidental house fire will never happen to them.

“We speak to many people after we have attended fires in their homes and they are shocked at the ease and speed at which fire can spread.

“With cooking, electrical and smoking related as the top three causes we are asking people to follow our simple fire safety advice.

“Cooking appliances accounted for 38% of accidental house fires – don’t leave cooking unattended; turn off hobs and ovens when finished cooking and if using a chip pan never ever throw water on to an oil-based fire.”

He added: “Electrical equipment and supply accounted for 25% – don’t overload sockets, or leave electrical appliances running overnight or when you leave the house.”