RISING costs of gas and electricity could lead to a surge in house fires as cash-strapped residents try to heat and light their homes by less safe methods, South Yorkshire firefighters have warned.
Fire safety experts are warning residents to think carefully before using equipment that could put them at risk.
Over the last six months, firefighters have attended 23 accidental house fires involving heaters, open fires and candles or naked flames. Bosses fear that number could rise over the autumn and winter months.
Residents using heaters are being urged to keep them away from curtains and furniture and are being warned never to use them to dry clothes.
Using hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket - even if the blanket is switched off - can be dangerous, and candles should never be left unattended.
They are also urging people to use guards on open fires to protect against flying sparks, and stressing the importance of making sure embers are properly extinguished at the end of the day.