Wallingford area householders urged to take more care after spate of blazes

Six out of the 15 primary fires attended by personnel from the town's fire station since April are understood to have been the result of careless human behaviour, including one involving a bread-maker which was left on a hob and another where a toaster was left unsupervised.

The total number of primary fires - which include those which occur in buildings fit for occupation - so far this year in the Wallingford area is 50% more than in the same period last year, when ten were recorded.

Fires could have been avoided

Terry Coupar, On-call Station Support Officer for Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service at Wallingford Fire Station, said: "We have seen a spike in the number of kitchen and home-related fires locally recently, several of which we think could have been avoided if people had followed fire safety guidance.

"It is essential that items which could catch fire should never be placed on or near an oven hob and that people should not leave items cooking on a hob unattended, as doing so could result in a fire. We have also attended an incident in somebody's home where clothing was left too close to a heat sauce, causing a fire."

Safety advice

People can complete a Home Fire Risk Check online to understand better how they can become safer within the home.

Home safety advice being offered by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service as part of its 365alive initiative, which aims to reduce fires and road traffic accidents via targeted educational work, includes:

  • Fit a smoke alarm and ensure once a week that its batteries are working
  • Establish a home escape route and share it with those who live in a property, so all are familiar with it in the event of a fire
  • Make sure doors are closed as part of a bedtime routine, as shut doors help prevent the spread of fire
  • Never leave a hob unattended when it is being used for cooking

Acting now could save lives in the future

Mr Coupar added: "Accidents do happen, and when they do, it is important that a home and its residents are prepared as can be to respond effectively, whether that is by having a working smoke alarm fitted or a clear and understood procedure in place to evacuate a building if a fire occurs.

"Individuals taking the time to prepare and familiarise themselves with relevant information could save lives - a great starting point is to complete our Home Fire Risk Check, in order to better understand what the potential dangers are when it comes to fires in the home."