Two killed after clothes catch fire - 'very rare' incidents see firefighters launch campaign to save lives

Fire chiefs have revealed two people were killed after their clothes caught fire, prompting a special campaign by Tyne and Wear’s firefighters.
Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue HQTyne & Wear Fire and Rescue HQ
Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue HQ

Of these, two related to ‘very rare’ incidents in which items of clothing were ignited.

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Dave Leach, area manager for Service Delivery at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Following the two fatalities linked involving cultural clothing, prevention and education along with advocates and volunteers engaged with the BAME community across Newcastle and then across the service area delivering safety advice specifically on the dangers of loose fitting clothing and heat sources.

“It’s pleasing to note we have [had no] further instances of this type of incident.”

Leach was speaking at a meeting of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority’s Policy and Performance Committee, which was held by videolink.

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Leach told the panel another death had been at a hostel which had been deemed ‘fire safety compliant’ but which had since been offered extra help and advice by firefighters.

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Guidance has also been offered to the Showman’s Guild, which represents travelling performers, following a caravan blaze, but this had been put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He added analysis of the fatalities had shown ‘very little in terms of trends which could be targeted’ and that in two cases smoke alarms had been fitted but were not working at the time of the blazes.

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