Smoke alarms plea: Nearly a third of fire-hit houses without them in South Yorks

Vital: South Yorkshire fire service will fit smoke alarms at homes for free in some cases.
Vital: South Yorkshire fire service will fit smoke alarms at homes for free in some cases.
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HUNDREDS of South Yorkshire homes and businesses where fires broke out last year had no working smoke alarm fitted.

One man died, 25 people including children were taken to hospital, and five victims suffered serious injuries, figures revealed as part of The Star’s Your Right to Know campaign show.

Another man died in a fire where officers did not know if a smoke alarm was present.

Firefighters found a total of 236 of the premises where blazes broke out were without life-saving alarms, including 165 homes.

The devices can be fitted free by the fire service or for as little as £10.

Station manager Jon Torn, who works in community fire safety for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Smoke alarms will give you the information to know something has occurred and, if you have an escape plan, as soon as the alarm goes off you know how to get out.

“We’ve been to some house fires where people have covered alarms with clingfilm or taken batteries out. That shouldn’t be done in any circumstances.”

The number of such incidents has fallen over three years – which fire service bosses say is down to education and work fitting alarms.

The 165 house fires where there was no smoke alarm in the last year represented 26 per cent of the 636 house fires officers were called to.

The figure is a drop from 32 per cent, or 272 fires, at premises lacking the life-saving devices in 2010. Mr Torn said that was good news – but added that many blazes could be avoided in the first place.

Figures show ‘hot spot’ areas where fires have occurred when there were no working alarms.

In Sheffield, the most were in Parson Cross and Ecclesfield, which each had 12. There were no smoke alarms at premises where 109 blazes broke out in the city last year.There were 31 in Rotherham, and 59 in Doncaster.

Bessacar and Bentley had the most, with seven incidents in each area.

FIRE SERVICE ADVICE

* Don’t cook after you have been drinking.

* Switch off electrical items when you go out or go to bed.

* Check your smoke alarm and its batteries on a weekly basis.

* Don’t smoke in bed.