Warning over 'potentially deadly' fire conditions over Christmas

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image captionFire chiefs said decoration and candles can increase house fires over Christmas

Firefighters have warned of "potentially deadly" conditions for house fires over Christmas after more than 500 accidental blazes were recorded in one month last year.

Between 10 December 2018 and 14 January 2019, there were 509 house fires which left 91 people hurt.

Fire chiefs said the festive spike can be caused by a higher use of heating and electrical appliances.

Increased alcohol consumption, candles and decorations can also play a part.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's Assistant Chief Officer Ross Haggart urged people to take care over Christmas.

He said: "Ultimately, we want people to remember the festive period for all the right reasons.

"When our firefighters have to attend a fire in someone's house at Christmas time, and we enter a house which is burning but full of Christmas presents and decorations, it's heartbreaking.

"It's all too easy to think that it will never happen to you - but it can."

'Act responsibly'

There was a slight decrease between accidental house fires last year compared to 2017/18 (528) - however the figures were still higher than 2016/17 (486).

The data was highlighted as the fire service launched its winter safety campaign, which includes a national television advert highlighting the dangers of cooking while under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Haggart added: "When it comes to celebrating and marking the occasion, please do not drink, then attempt to cook.

"Cooking remains the number one cause of house fires in Scotland and often alcohol is a contributing factor, especially during this period.

"Consider making something beforehand and have it prepared, or wait until you are no longer affected by alcohol."

Community safety minister Ash Denham said: "While we want people to be able to celebrate and relax over the festive period, it is extremely important that they also keep themselves and others safe.

"For that reason I'd urge people to follow the advice of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and act responsibly."

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