Booze blamed for home fires

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ALCOHOL or drugs are responsible for double the number of house fires in the run up to Christmas than at any other time of the year, new statistics have revealed.

Fire chiefs are so concerned with the annual increase they are using this year’s festive season to urge South Yorkshire residents to think twice about switching on their cookers after a drink in the hope of bucking the trend.

Last year firefighters were called out to an average of 5.6 fires a month where alcohol or drugs played a part, but that rose to 12 in December.

The year before, 2009, crews dealt with an average of 6.8 such blazes compared to 11 in December.

Jon Torn, station manager in Community Safety, said: “The busy Christmas party period is already upon us and we’re not here to stop people having a good time.”

“But people must recognise that by cooking when you’ve been out drinking, you are automatically putting yourself at a much greater risk of fire.”

“Seasonal drink drive campaigns have made getting behind the wheel of a car after a drink completely unacceptable and we think the same stigma should be attached to cooking in the home.”

“We’ve attended far too many serious incidents where people have been under the influence of alcohol and fallen asleep with food on the hob or in the cooker, or where drink or drugs have made them uncoordinated and more likely to have an accident.”

To stay safe this Christmas, people are reminded to never cook when under the influence of alcohol, never use a chip pan and never leave cooking unattended and switch kitchen appliances off after use.

For more tips on staying safe this winter visit www.syfire.gov.uk