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How often do house fires happen these days?

(52 Posts)
wanderings Wed 09-Nov-16 06:33:14

I'd like to think house fires are rarer than they used to be; not as many people smoke indoors as used to, and safety standards regarding electricity and furniture (all those "flame retardant" labels we have to remember not to cut off) are increasing all the time.

Does anyone in insurance or fire know what causes house fires mostly nowadays? Is it candles, smoking, electrics, cooking? I'm just curious, and it's something I used to worry about a lot as a child.

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Wed 09-Nov-16 06:40:20

Tumble driers are often a cause.

allegretto Wed 09-Nov-16 06:40:54

Nobody seems to have chip pans nowadays either - they were always featuring on horror safety films.

aimingforthesky Wed 09-Nov-16 06:51:15

I'm in a hotel at present due to my house being on fire! It was caused by a makeup mirror reflecting sun on to cd collection. Destroyed bedroom and smoke damaged. Fortunately the house was empty.

Groovee Wed 09-Nov-16 06:53:40

We fortunately prevented a fire caused by our electric supply into our house. It could have been nasty.

A massive house fire along the road was due to straightners. Another one was one of those plug in air freshness.

PikachuSayBoo Wed 09-Nov-16 06:56:31

Electrical faults are the main cause.

Phone chargers, tumble driers, dishwashers.

Redglitter Wed 09-Nov-16 06:57:18

My brothers a fire fighter and is kept pretty busy. Candles, tumble dryers, hair straighteners, phone chargers being the most frequent causes

VagueButExcitlng Wed 09-Nov-16 06:58:00

Aiming how awful flowers

I went to a fire safety briefing last week held at our local fire station. We were told that call outs to fire incidents had halved in the last 15 years. This is for all the reasons you mentioned and also better early detection systems, sprinklers etc.

They said the only growing cause is candles.

Still most are caused by faulty or overloaded electrics.

The fire service will come out to your house and help with things like smoke alarm positions etc. They even said they have a budget to give out deep fat fryers to elderly people who still use chip pans!

Heratnumber7 Wed 09-Nov-16 06:58:12

House near us was on fire last year. Hair straighteners were left on, on a carpeted floor.

BigGreenOlives Wed 09-Nov-16 07:09:35

My MIL has set fire to two houses - spin drier caught fire & she didn't call the fire brigade, she went to see if anyone had a fire extinguisher. Second fire, in a smaller house, was a candle which fell over onto a curtain (curtains on the floor instead of rugs, candle wasn't a nightlight but a tall candle on a saucer). She doesn't have dementia, she's always lived life in a different way.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Wed 09-Nov-16 07:12:13

They do still happen, though, so nobody should ever be complacent about the risk of fire. It's a subject close to my heart because a family we knew had a terrible house fire many years ago and one of their children died from smoke inhalation. sad They were out of their house for months while the damage was rectified. They lost all their possessions. Nothing compared with the loss of their child, but still a major life event.

I was a fire marshal in a previous job and we were shown some terrifying footage of how quickly a fire can take hold. There are a few sensible precautions everybody should take.

1. Working smoke alarms in sensible locations (check the batteries regularly).
2. Shut all internal doors at night. If a fire does start, a closed door gives you a bit of extra time by slowing down the spread of smoke and fire. Make sure you can open all windows wide enough to get out through them/be rescued by fire brigade.
3. Don't smoke in the house and take great care with candles.
4. Don't leave the dishwasher or tumble drier running while you are out or asleep. I know a lot of people say they have no choice, but they do spontaneously catch fire sometimes and the earlier you know about that the better. My dishwasher started sparking and smoking one night when fortunately we were still in the room with it and were able to switch it off at once. Not nice.
5. If you do think a fire has started, shut the door on that room, keep it shut and call 999 at once. Get everybody outside.

PikachuSayBoo Wed 09-Nov-16 07:26:04

Ditto what's been said about not running appliances at night.

Ive had a dishwasher catch fire, luckily I was downstairs and awake.

Many years ago there was a mumsnetter who had a dishwasher catch fire running overnight. Her smoke alarms saved her and her family. But the house was a mess, she was out for six months and her cats died.

MrsMarigold Wed 09-Nov-16 07:42:51

I lived in a flatshare years ago and we had a fire, girl went to sleep, her bedside lamp fell onto the bed, her mattress protector was from Primark and had a highly flammable back (nylon?). Thank goodness she was ok because we had smoke detectors and also a large fire hydrant supplied by the landlady, but it happened quickly. As a result I have insanely expensive wool and cotton mattress protectors now.

GinAndOnIt Wed 09-Nov-16 07:48:39

There was a fire in the main farmhouse recently, inside a wall. An old chimney that had been boarded up, but a fireplace in a different room connected up, so the heat could reach the closed up fireplace and not escape. Eventually caught fire.

There was also a huge fire on the farm just after harvest, but that was arson. <bitter> I was chatting to one of the fireman that evening and he said he said it was unusual for them to deal with a big fire like that. Most call outs are for road accidents now (for them, anyway). He did talk about the 'dread' when they get a domestic 3am call though, because they know they'll likely be rescuing people.

I applied for the fire service when I was younger. I still have a weird interest in it now, although nowhere near fit enough for it anymore.

seminakedinsomebodyelsesroom Wed 09-Nov-16 07:51:53

DH is a fire fighter. Definitely do still happen. Having working smoke alarms - more than one - is the most important thing, followed by closing doors at night.

girlwithamoonandstaronherhead Wed 09-Nov-16 07:52:21

There was a house fire near me a couple of years ago. Mum survived but lost 5 children including a tiny baby, her mum and her sister. Her husband was at work. Electrical fault of some sort. sad

PicnicPie Wed 09-Nov-16 08:09:33

My toaster caught fire last week. So scary. But luckily I was there to put it out. If I hadn't it would have caught the cupboards above

midnightanna Wed 09-Nov-16 08:16:02

This happened about 20 mins from us on Saturday, their dog died sad.

Then another one on Monday an elderly couple in their 90s died. sad

Scrappysmammy Wed 09-Nov-16 08:17:25

Last week and elderly lady who loves in the next big town had a house fire during the night, luckily she got it unharmed but her two dogs died. So, so sad

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 09-Nov-16 08:22:58

I've done some work for banks and insurers so probably have come across fires more in work life than RL, iyswim. Tumble drier fires are not uncommon and if people are out they can be devastating - I interviewed a family who had been in a hotel for 5 months because their house basically had to be rebuilt after a drier fire.

I also witnessed a lightening strike fire when I was staying with a friend - the house was struck, it went down the wall cavity, blew out some old wiring then set fire to the dust etc in the cavity. That was quite dramatic.

TheDrsDocMartens Wed 09-Nov-16 13:33:51

Wiring in one near us. Spread to next door by the time it was spotted as the house was empty and no smoke alarms. Next door we're lucky to get out.

Daisiesandgerberas Wed 09-Nov-16 22:22:26

Ours was due to the automatic cut-out in the dehumidifier failing angry

FrogFairy Wed 09-Nov-16 22:32:41

I know of three local house fires in recent years, two from tumble dryers and a dishwasher.

Fires caused by electrical faults scare me. How would you know your wiring was faulty? Would a modern consumer unit switch off the electric in time to stop a fire?

TreehouseTales Wed 09-Nov-16 22:36:08

I get really anxious about this kind of thing. We don't have any doors downstairs, never leave appliances running overnight though.

Whats the deal with mobile phone chargers?! I charge overnight by my bed....

leccybill Wed 09-Nov-16 22:37:20

Colleague of mine's cousin and her DH died in a house fire due to an electrical fault. Their only DD was sleeping at a friends sad

I have a bit of an inherent feare of fire, which DD has inherited. I used to think I could hear crackling of flames when trying to get to sleep.

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