Rise in fire injuries linked to pandemic as figures revealed
The coronavirus pandemic may be to blame for a rise in fire injuries across Tyne and Wear.
According to the latest figures, there were 117 incidents in which people needed treatment following blazes over the last nine months of 2020.
Fire chiefs have hinted this trend may have been partly caused by the impacts of successive lockdowns, with numbers for 2020/21 higher than the year before (2019/20), although also lower than 2018/19.
“There has been an increase in injuries of 34 [although] a couple of incidents cater for quite a high number of those,” said Phil Clark, area manager at the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
“[Of those 117 injured from all fires,] 52% of the injuries came from accidental dwelling fires and occurred in the kitchen.
“I think we’ve also got to remember that this year (2020/21), commercial premises have been closed, and a lot more people are residing in their homes as well, so we have also seen a bit of an increase in those dwelling fires.”
Clark was speaking at a meeting of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority’s Policy and Performance Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
According to fire chiefs, two separate incidents, one in Gateshead and one in Sunderland, accounted for 11 fire injuries on their own.
The figures for the first three quarters of 2020/21, covering April – December, showed the most common ‘room of origin’ for fires in Tyne and Wear was the kitchen, while most smoking was the main cause of bedroom blazes.