Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging people to make fire safety a priority following the tragic death of a man in a fire in Waterloo last week.
The fire occurred in a flat on Hicks Road, Waterloo, on Wednesday 8 December. Crews were alerted at 7.29pm and on scene at 7.32pm. Three fire engines attended.
On arrival crews found smoke issuing from a flat on the second floor of the building.
Crews quickly gained entry and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered to fight the fire and search the flat for occupants. The fire was extinguished by 8.05pm.
During their search, firefighters discovered the body of a 32-year-old man at the property. First aid was carried out by firefighters and paramedics but sadly the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
A joint investigation between MFRS and Merseyside Police has been carried out. Initial investigations indicate the fire was accidental and caused by the failure of an electrical device.
Firefighters and prevention staff from MFRS will visit residents surrounding Hicks Road on Thursday morning to reassure them, offering vital fire safety advice and carrying out home fire safety checks.
Mark Thomas, Group Manager for Prevention at MFRS, said, “This is an extremely tragic incident that has resulted in the death of a 32-year-old man. Our thoughts are with his friends, and family and community at this difficult time. Initial investigations into this tragic incident indicate that the fire was caused by an electrical device. Due to the severity of the damage caused, we are unable to determine the exact type of device but we would urge people to take a few simple steps to ensure their electrical items are safe.
“If you are buying electrical items this Christmas, make sure you only purchase them from reputable retailers. Take extra care when charging electrical devices. Only use the chargers that came with the device and avoid leaving items such as phones, laptops and tablets charging overnight.
“Discard any worn or faulty items or appliances – if the cables are frayed or damaged, or there are scorch marks around the plug or socket, don’t use it.”
As well as being careful with electrical items, MFRS is urging members of the public to take care when smoking and drinking this Christmas time, as well as offering other useful fire safety advice.
GM Thomas added, “We know that there is a lot going on at this time of year and people are pre-occupied with the ongoing pandemic and whether or not they will get a ‘normal’ Christmas this year, but it’s really important that fire safety remains a priority. The last thing anybody wants right now is a fire in the home.
“Smoking remains the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home. The safest thing to do is to not smoke at all but we understand that quitting is not so simple for everyone. If you must smoke, please do so safely – never smoke in bed and take extra care if you’re tired. Please do not smoke when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and remember, make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished – put it out, right out.
“Take extra care when cooking, particularly at this time of year when there are a lot of distractions in the kitchen. Never leave pans unattended when cooking and avoid cooking if you have been drinking – ask someone else to do the cooking instead or order a takeaway.
“The most important thing that anyone can do to keep themselves safe from fire is to have working smoke alarms and we would urge residents across Merseyside to take time out of their day to check theirs are working.
“If you hear a smoke alarm sounding, don’t ignore it – even if it isn’t yours. If you hear a smoke alarm go off in a neighbour’s property, check it out and call 999 immediately if you suspect a fire. Those vital few seconds could help save a life. Don’t try to enter the property yourself if you think there is a fire – get out, stay out and 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 – if you 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. Don’t 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 door and window keys in a known and accessible place.
- 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.