Alarms alert after house fire death


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The Independent Online

Fire safety officials have reiterated the importance of ensuring smoke alarms are working after the death of a 79-year-old man in a blaze on Christmas Day.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said the victim was pronounced dead at his home in Eckington, near Sheffield, last night despite efforts to save him by his son-in-law and a neighbour.

The fatality occurred just a day after a 65-year-old woman died in a fire at a mid-terrace property in nearby Whaley Thorns, which left several other people suffering from smoke inhalation.

Fire service group manager Bob Curry confirmed that crews from Staveley and Mosborough attended the fire at an address in Castle Hill shortly after 9pm yesterday.

Mr Curry, who offered his brigade's thoughts and sympathies to the man's family and friends, said initial investigations had shown that there were no working smoke alarms fitted in the properties where the tragedies occurred.

Urging householders to ensure that alarms are tested weekly, Mr Curry said: "The tragedy of this second fatality is that whilst there were smoke alarms fitted in this property, the batteries were not fitted properly.

"Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently backing a campaign to ensure that all new homes are fitted with a sprinkler system in addition to smoke alarms.

"Whilst a working smoke alarm gives essential early warning of a fire, having a sprinkler system installed will actually fight the fire and will help to reduce the spread."

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police, which is not treating the death as suspicious, said a neighbour and the victim's son-in-law dragged him out of the property and had attempted to resuscitate him in the garden before paramedics also tried to save him.