MERSEYSIDE residents are being urged to make sure they have working smoke alarms and know what to do in the event of a fire following a tragic fatality in a house fire in Bootle.
The fire occurred at a house in Antonio Street on the evening of Wednesday, March 18. Despite an extremely fast response of only four minutes from fire crews, a 67-year-old man sadly lost his life in the fire.
A joint investigation between Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) and Merseyside Police has been carried out and determined the fire originated in the first floor bedroom of the property. It is believed the fire spread quickly due to the level of fire loading within the affected room. As a result of the severity of the fire and extensive damage caused to the property, investigators were unable to determine an exact cause but suspect the fire was caused by a candle or portable gas heater.
Firefighters and prevention staff from MFRS will now go out into the community around Antonio Street to reassure residents, provide fire safety advice, home fire safety checks, and install smoke alarms where required.
Mark Thomas, group manager for prevention at MFRS, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and community at this time. This is a terrible tragedy which should never happen and we would urge communities across Merseyside to ensure that smoke alarms are installed and are tested regularly.
“Make sure your escape routes are clear from any clutter and that everyone in your household knows what to do and how to get out of the property in the event of a fire. Keep your door and window keys in a known and accessible place.
“We understand that times are difficult and many members of our community will now be self-isolating as a result of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, however we cannot stress the importance that if there is a fire – get out, stay out and call the fire service. Do not try to tackle the fire yourself, close the door of the room where the fire is if possible, get to a safe place and dial 999.
“If you hear a smoke alarm sounding in a neighbour’s home or simply walking past a house, dial 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service- we would much sooner go to a false alarm than a potentially serious fire.
“Finally, please be extremely careful if you are using candles in the home. Make sure you keep them away from anything that can catch fire – furniture, curtains, newspapers, books and never leave lit candles unattended. Consider using LED battery operated candles instead – they will reduce the risk of fire for everyone in your home.
“Using unsafe heating methods can often lead to a fire starting in your property. If you are worried about the heating methods in your home, or in the homes of your loved ones, please call us on 0800 731 5958 for free fire safety advice.”