Fire safety warning following death of elderly man in house fire

One elderly man perished in a house fire in Barrow Credit: Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning to be aware of fire safety steps, following the death of a 91-year-old man in a house fire incident over the weekend.

Fire crews from across Cumbria have dealt with a number of significant property fires in recent days.

The incidents occurred at both commercial properties and residential dwellings.

One elderly man died in a house fire on Monday 21 November, while another casualty was rescued from a property fire in the early hours of Sunday (20 November) and is being treated in hospital after suffering severe burns in the incident.

At 4:22pm on 21 November, three fire engines attended a house fire on Hartington Street, Barrow-in-Furness.

Six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building and quickly extinguished the fire and discovered the elderly occupant. A paramedic on the scene confirmed that the 91-year-old male occupant was deceased. A joint police and fire investigation is ongoing.

In the early hours of Sunday, crews were called out to a house fire on Primrose Road in Barrow-in-Furness.

Several fire appliances from across Cumbria were in attendance and worked to bring the incident under control to prevent further spread to adjacent properties.

Two casualties were taken to hospital and one male is being treated after suffering severe burns. A joint police and fire investigation is ongoing. 

At 3.51am on Saturday (19 November), crews responded to a fire at a Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in Bassenthwaite, Keswick where a bin fire outside had spread to the building.

Six fire appliances along with an Aerial Ladder Platform were in attendance at the incident and one person was passed to the care of North West Ambulance Service with suspected smoke inhalation.

Crews were able to contain the fire quickly which prevented it spreading and means the hotel is still open for guests and visitors.

Craig Drinkald, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service head of service delivery, said: “It is especially tragic when a fatal house fire occurs and on behalf of all of the service we pass our condolences on to the family and friends of the elderly gentleman.

“Investigations are ongoing to find the cause of these fires, but early observations from attending crews indicate that all properties had working smoke alarms at the time of the fire.

“Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service recognises the important role of working smoke alarms in all settings but also wants to reiterate that smoke alarms are a last chance to stay safe and do give a warning but sometimes this can still not stop people from suffering harm from smoke and fire.

“Working smoke alarms do save lives, but they are a small part of staying safe from fire, they do not extinguish fire or guarantee a safe escape from the property. They should be used as part of a ‘staying safe from fire’ toolkit which includes maintaining clear escape routes, keeping doors shut to prevent smoke travel and fire spread, reducing the sources of ignition and being safe when cooking.

“People with reduced mobility or other health conditions may not be able to evacuate as easily as others and may need increased fire safety measures.

"We carry out 10,000 home visits every year to ensure smoke alarms are working and that people have a plan in case a fire does occur.

“We have an online home safety tool that can be used by people to assess their own fire risk and the risk to loved ones and are encouraging everyone to spend ten minutes on this site to increase their fire safety awareness and safety.”

Safety advice can be found on the website Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service - Safety at home | Cumbria County Council and Fire Kills – Test your smoke alarm now and every month website.

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