A RISE in accidental house fires has been attributed to people trying to ‘self harm’ by starting a blaze, the fire service covering Uttoxeter has revealed.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service revealed the shock statistic as part of a detailed breakdown of the types of incidents attended by firefighters.
A scrutiny and performance report stated that between April and December last year, the number of fires involving property or casualties was lower than the previous year.
However, accidental home fires had begun to rise with investigations revealing that this could be attributed to the fact that people were ‘self-harming’ with fire.
This has led to the service working with mental health partners in an effort to put an end to the trend.
The service said it was ‘keeping an eye on the problem’ and forming a special group to look into the situation if it persisted.
Accidental fires at businesses had also fallen, although deliberate business fires had spiked.
Weather was pinpointed as the key factor in a fall in deliberate small fires and grass fires.
The service raised eyebrows after it noticed a steady rise in the number of road traffic collisions it had attended.
Hoax calls had also fallen and there was only one recorded attack on a firefighter.
The main causes of fire were found to be cooking-related incidents and electrical faults.
Chief executive Peter Dartford spoke about the service’s efforts to improve public safety and how there was a significant drop in the count in the number of people killed.
“In 1999, there were 270 people killed in fires in Staffordshire,” he said. “Last year there were just 27.
“This is a 90 per cent drop.
“People need to raise their vigilance, particularly during cold months when electric heaters and fires are more likely to be in, to prevent fires.
“Preventing fires is often about being aware of the risks.
“Rather than just talking about the risks of fires, we go out to people’s homes to make sure they are as safe as possible.”