New data from the Home Office has shown a worrying increase in the number of fire deaths in England.
The data shows that the number of people dying in fire-related incidents in England has shown the biggest percentage increase in 20 years.
303 people lost their lives in fires in 2015-16, representing a 15% increase on the previous 12 months.
During the period 2015-16, fire services across England responded to 162,000 fires, an increase of 7,000 from the previous year.
Statistics show that of the primary fires attended
- 31,333 were dwelling fires with 229 fire-related fatalities.
- 15,984 were fires in other buildings with 21 fire-related fatalities.
Within other buildings the highest number of fires occurred in the following building types:
- Private non-residential buildings including private garages and garden sheds.
- Industrial premises including manufacturing, processing plants, warehouses and bulk storage units.
- Public buildings including car parks, public toilets, religious buildings and transport buildings.
- Retail premises.
- Food and drink premises.
The Home Office has attributed the increased death total to a rise in the number of accidental fires within people’s homes, in addition to fatalities from fires involving aircraft, mainly as a result of the Shoreham air disaster.
Data compiled by the Department of Communities and Local Government in 2015 highlighted a 14.7% decline in the number of fire fighters in the last decade. The time taken to respond to incidents has also risen over the last 6 years. The Home Office however strongly refute the claim that the rise in fire-related deaths is attributable to cuts in funding.