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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Daughter supports campaign to reduce fire deaths

4/3/2017

A Kidsgrove woman is supporting Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s SAME Campaign which aims to raise awareness of the four key factors which usually lead to fatal fires these include smoking, alcohol, mobility issues and elderly people.

“If we can raise awareness and stop this happening to one more family I'll see it as a success personally.”

Toni Jones

Toni Jones sadly lost her father, Malcolm, in a blaze on Boxing Day in 2015 and when she heard of the new campaign she hoped it would prevent others from going through what her family has.

The 52-year-old had enjoyed Christmas with the family having had a traditional meal and a few drinks with relatives. He returned to his home where he lived alone in the early hours of Boxing Day.

He decided to cook something to eat but fell asleep leaving the cooking unattended; this caused a fire in the kitchen and the property to fill with smoke. Unfortunately there were no working smoke alarms in the property to alert Malcolm to the fire as he had taken the batteries out.

Although the flames burned themselves out the level of carbon monoxide was extremely high and caused Malcolm to pass away.

Toni said: “I still drive round by the house today and there doesn't seem to have been too much done on it. The extractor fan from the kitchen through to outside is still all melted and windows and rooms are still all black and charred.

 
“I still like to go there as it helps me feel close to him. Unfortunately I don't have anywhere to really go to do that due to the funeral costs. I could only afford to get him cremated rather than headstone, so he currently sits on my kitchen table in his scatter box waiting for the day I feel strong enough to set him free.

“If we can raise awareness and stop this happening to one more family I'll see it as a success personally.”

Northern Service Delivery Group Leader Brian Moss said: “This was a tragic incident which we sadly see too many of. In this situation there were no working smoke alarms and no one else in the property to alert us to the fire. In cases such as this our firefighters have very little time to get in and help anyone inside the building. This is of course devastating for the family and hits our firefighters very hard who are obviously committed to saving lives.

“The SAME campaign really targets these people and their loved ones so that tragedies like this become fewer and fewer until hopefully they don’t happen anymore.

“It is a big challenge but we are calling on our partners and the community to try and make it a reality.”

For more information visit the SAME campaign page or for advice contact the Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999.