A Kidsgrove woman is supporting Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s SAME campaign for the second year running to continue to help raise awareness of the four factors that increase the chances of someone dying in a fire. These are smoking, alcohol, mobility issues and being elderly.
If we can raise awareness and stop this happening to one more family I'll see it as a success personally.
Toni Jones sadly lost her father, Malcolm, in a blaze on Boxing Day 2015, and when she heard about the campaign to prevent others from going through the same experience she hoped sharing her story would help spread the message. Now the campaign is being re-launched as SAME Again and she is speaking out once more about how alcohol was a contributing factor to her father’s tragedy.
Malcolm was 52-years-old when he passed away shortly after enjoying Christmas Day with his family. He returned home after having his traditional meal and drinks with his loved ones in the early hours of Boxing Day.
He decided to cook something to eat but fell asleep, leaving the frying pan unattended. This caused a fire to start in the kitchen. Unfortunately as there were no working smoke alarms and Malcolm lived alone, he was not alerted to the blaze.
Although the flames burned themselves out the amount of carbon monoxide was extremely high and caused Malcolm to pass away.
Toni said: “Sadly he had his smoke alarm disconnected and only lived a minute from Kidsgrove fire station. If it was present and correct, it may not have ended this way.
“I still like to go to his home as it helps me feel close to him. Unfortunately I don't have anywhere else to go to do that due to the funeral costs. I could only afford to get him cremated rather than a headstone.
“If we can raise awareness and stop this happening to one more family I'll see it as a success personally.”
Northern Service Deliver Group Manager Brian Moss said: “This was a tragic incident and we are extremely grateful to Toni for allowing us to share her story again to continue to raise awareness of how alcohol and the other SAME factors could increase the chances of dying in a fire.
“Unfortunately because there were no working smoke alarms we were not alerted to the fire for quite some time. In cases like this the firefighters only have a short amount of time to get into the property and help those inside. The fact they could not save Malcolm is of course devastating to them and their thoughts are always with family members such as Toni, especially during the holidays, which I’m sure is a difficult time for them.
“We have re-launched the SAME campaign to encourage people to look out for these factors, both in themselves and in their loved ones, so hopefully, tragedies like this won’t happen. It’s a big challenge but we are calling on the whole community to pull together and spread our safety messages.”
For more information on the SAME campaign visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/campaigns/fire-death-factors/.