MFRS warns of the dangers of garden bonfires after man dies in Netherton

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is warning of the dangers of burning garden and household waste following the tragic death of a man in a fire in Netherton.

Firefighters were called to Canterbury Way at around 6pm on Wednesday 13th May, arriving at the scene within six minutes. On arrival crews discovered a well-developed fire at the rear of the terraced property. The fire had fully engulfed a lean-to in the garden and was spreading inside the property. Sadly it became clear that an 82-year-old man had been involved in the blaze. He died of his injuries at the scene.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has been carried out and determined that a garden fire had developed out of control.
Firefighters and prevention staff from MFRS will be out in the community on Tuesday 19th May to reassure residents, leaflet properties and offer vital fire safety advice on the doorstep.

Mark Thomas, Group Manager for Prevention at MFRS, said: “What started as a garden fire quickly turned into an out of control blaze which sadly resulted in the tragic death of an 82-year-old man. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the gentleman at this time.

“We would urge residents across Merseyside to avoid burning waste in their gardens at this time if they can. Not only can garden fires quickly get out of control and have devastating consequences like this one did, but they can also have negative impacts on those with respiratory conditions at this time. Garden bonfires also create extra work for your Fire & Rescue Service at a time when all emergency services are under immense pressure.

“We have seen an increase of more than 130% isn the number of garden fires reported to ourselves in recent weeks. We understand that waste has started to build up as a result of recycling centres being closed for a period of time. However, many of these have now already re-opened or are the process of doing so – we would urge you to keep hold of your waste and dispose of it safely when you are able to.

“I would also urge residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their home. You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home – these should be tested weekly. It is also worth considering installing additional smoke alarms in rooms with electrical devices and sleeping areas. We would also ask people to make sure internal doors are closed overnight – this helps to prevent the spread of fire through a property should one occur, giving you the time you need to escape. Remember, in the event of a fire in the home – get out, stay out and call 999.”

Anyone who would like fire safety advice, or does not have working smoke alarms in their homes, should call 0800 731 5958.

If you must burn garden waste, please follow these tips:

• Never use petrol or any accelerant to light a fire or encourage it
• Never burn household rubbish, tyres or anything that contains pant, plastic or foam
• Do not burn close to property, trees, fences, sheds or other outbuildings
• Be courteous to your neighbours…if you are planning a substantial bonfire, let them know
• Never leave a fire or barbecue unattended. Do not leave them to smoulder – ensure all fires and barbecues are completely out before you leave them
• Keep a bucket of water/sand or garden hose nearby
• Keep children and pets away from fires and barbecues
• If a fire gets out of control, dial 999 immediately
• You should report nuisance and persistent burning to your local authority