THE COST to taxpayers of accidental house fires has been estimated at £4.2m, according to figures released by Cleveland Fire Brigade.

And with two-thirds of those being due to fires which started in the kitchen the brigade is running their kitchen safety campaign to help drive home the potential causes.

Phil Lancaster, director of community protection said: “It is amazing to think that last year accidental kitchen fires alone cost the economy of Cleveland £2.75m. If we include all accidental house fires that’s £4.2m that could have been saved had people been cautious and taken more care, particularly in what is classed as the most dangerous room in the house from fire – the kitchen.

“We have been out in force throughout February visiting colleges, shopping centres, supermarkets and even knocking on people’s doors to try to drive home the message that these fires can easily be prevented.

“Nobody thinks that their house is going to catch fire or burn down and people have busy lives, so fire safety sometimes goes down the list of priorities.”

People can visit their kitchen safety house and find out further safety information at The Brigade also provides free Home Fire Safety Visits and will fit smoke alarms if needed. Call 01429-874063 to arrange a visit.