Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging people to make fire safety a priority following the tragic death of an elderly woman in a fire in Kirkdale on Saturday.
The fire occurred in a ground floor flat on Saturday 12th March. Crews were alerted at 3.48pm and on scene at 3.51pm. Three fire engines attended.
A neighbour passing the flat had noticed blackened windows at the property and raised the alarm immediately by dialling 999.
On arrival four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rapidly entered the building and began fighting the fire with hose reel jets while searching for occupants. As firefighters searched the flat, they sadly discovered the body of an elderly woman.
North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Merseyside Police were also in attendance at the incident.
An investigation indicated the fire was accidental and caused by smoker’s materials.
Firefighters and prevention staff from MFRS will be visiting residents surrounding Carisbrooke Road this week to reassure them, offer vital fire safety advice and carry out home fire safety checks.
Mark Thomas, Group Manager for Prevention at MFRS, said: “This is an extremely sad incident that has resulted in the death of an 81 year old woman. Our thoughts are with her friends, family, and community at this very difficult time. The initial investigation indicates that smokers’ materials caused the fire to start.
“The neighbour who raised the alarm did exactly the right thing by calling us but sadly the fire had already developed.”
GM Thomas added: “If you have elderly neighbours or relatives, or if you are a carer looking after someone more vulnerable, check in on them frequently to make sure they are safe and well. Help them with Fire Safety advice and please speak to us in the Fire and Rescue Service if you need more support to keep them safe. We also urge care support agencies to let us know if they feel someone might be vulnerable from fire – we can help with interventions to keep people safe in their homes.
“If you hear a smoke alarm go off in a neighbour’s property, check it out and if you suspect fire, call 999 immediately. Those vital few seconds could help save a life. Don’t try to enter the property yourself if you think there is a fire – call 999.”
Follow these tips to say safe from fire:
- Smoke alarms – smoke alarms save lives but only if they’re working and in the right place. You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home. Consider installing additional alarms in rooms with electrical appliances or sleeping areas. Don't put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam could set them off accidentally. NEVER take the batteries out of your smoke alarm to put into another electrical device.
- Heaters – keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains, furniture and other flammable materials. NEVER use heaters to dry clothes. ALWAYS switch off and unplug your heaters before going to bed.
- Smoking – Please try not to smoke. Smoking is bad for your health and causes more death from accidental fires than any other cause. If you must smoke, use a proper ashtray and make sure it is placed on a level surface away from combustible materials. Make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished. Never smoke in bed – you could easily fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and cause a fire.
- Candles – keep candles and tea lights away from anything that can catch fire. NEVER leave lit candles unattended – make sure they are fully extinguished before leaving the room or going to bed. Consider using LED battery-operated candles instead.
- Cooking – make it a priority to keep cooking areas clear & clean from combustible materials. Make sure your oven and grill are clean – a build-up of fat or grease can cause a fire. DON’T leave pans unattended while cooking and NEVER leave children or pets unattended in the kitchen.
- Electrical items – check your electrical appliances are in good working order. If the wires are damaged or frayed, do no not use them. Avoid charging items like mobile phones, laptops or tablets overnight and only use the chargers that came with the device. Don’t overload your plug sockets.
- Escape routes – make sure everyone in your household knows how to get out in the event of a fire. Ensure your escape routes are clear from any clutter. Keep your external door and window keys in a known and accessible place and close internal doors.
Look after elderly and more vulnerable relatives and neighbours. Check they are well, have working smoke alarms and know what to do in the event of a fire.
- IN AN EMERGENCY, CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY. In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.
For fire safety advice, or if you do not have working smoke alarms in your home, please call 0800 731 5958.