Warning over outside fires spreading to homes

Bin FireCleveland Fire Brigade is urging householders to take extra care following an increase in fires which have started outside and spread to homes.

The Brigade has been called to five house fires this month where small fires which started outside properties have spread to buildings putting lives and property at risk.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We are appealing to all residents as a matter of urgency to take extra care inside and outside their homes.

“We have been called out recently to incidents where bonfires in the garden and carelessly discarded cigarettes or hot ashes have set fire to sheds and wheelie bins which have then spread to houses. Fires can spread very easily and can put you and your family’s lives at risk.

“Please do not burn rubbish in your gardens and dispose of cigarettes and BBQ ashes carefully to protect your loved ones and avoid the heartbreak of serious damage to your home.”

Figures for this month alone show there have been 16 accidental house fires which represents a significant increase from six accidental fires in the home during 1 – 24 April 2016. There have been eight incidents in Stockton, two in Redcar, three in Hartlepool and three in Middlesbrough.

Worryingly, in six of the house fires attended this month there was no working smoke alarm present and the Brigade is urging people to fit and, importantly, check their smoke alarms work.

 Mr Lancaster added: “It is vital that every home has working smoke alarms. They are proven to save lives and should be fitted on every level of your home and tested at least once a week. These will alert you immediately to any hint of a fire and give you plenty of time to get out of danger and ring 999.

“Cleveland Fire Brigade is committed to doing all it can to prevent fires in the home and we urgently need people to follow our advice to help keep them and their loved ones safe from fire.”

Fire safety in the home advice:


  • Stand by your pan – NEVER leave cooking unattended. It is the cause of 46% of kitchen fires
  • Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life. Chip pans cause 24% of kitchen fires
  • Keep your cooker clean – burnt food can and does cause fires


  • Unplug appliances and electrical equipment when not in use, unless they are designed to be left on, like your fridge or freezer
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything


  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully
  • Never leave discarded cigarettes on your garden decking or in plant pots
  • Empty ashtrays frequently – wet the contents before emptying them into a metal bin outside the home.
  • Never tip ash into a wastebasket or a bin you don’t know the contents of.


  • Empty BBQ ashes into a metal container or onto soil not into dustbins or wheelie bins – warm or hot ash can melt the plastic and cause a fire


  • Always place your candles and tealights in a suitable fire resistant candleholder
  • Place candles and tealights away from curtains, furniture and anything else than can catch fire.