Fatal Saffron Walden blaze prompts town fire safety day

PUBLISHED: 12:39 16 December 2009 | UPDATED: 22:04 31 May 2010

ESSEX County Fire and Rescue Service is to stage a fire safety event in Saffron Walden in the wake of the fire that claimed the lives of an elderly couple on Friday. The town s fire station will open its doors to the public between 10am-midday and betwee

ESSEX County Fire and Rescue Service is to stage a fire safety event in Saffron Walden in the wake of the fire that claimed the lives of an elderly couple on Friday.

The town's fire station will open its doors to the public between 10am-midday and between 6-8pm on Tuesday December 22 and is inviting residents to drop in to find out how they can do more to protect their homes from the dangers of fire.

Fire officers will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on a range of fire safety issues including the fitting of smoke alarms and will be urging everyone attending to think of elderly family, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable.

People in the town will be able to book home fire safety visits to ensure that these groups are better protected.

"The whole community is coming to terms with the tragedy," said Senior Divisional Officer Julian Ashley, Community Commander for Uttlesford and Braintree.

"The fire service is an integral part of the community and we wouldn't be doing our job properly if we didn't take the opportunity while this tragedy is fresh in everyone's minds to warn about the devastating effect fire can have on families, particularly at this time of the year.

"Though the fire investigation into the cause of the Mill Lane incident is still ongoing and we can't say at this stage what caused it, we know there are very many dangers in the home - chip pans, smoking, electric blankets and other household appliances - that continue to cause death and injury. If we can save a single life from doing this kind of awareness exercise, then it is time well spent.

"As a service, ECFRS invests an enormous amount of time and energy in trying to protect vulnerable groups like the elderly, so at a time when people are thinking of buying gifts for their loved ones and spending time with their families, we would urge them to think about making sure they are safer in their homes by fitting smoke alarms.

"These devices are cheap and simple to fix and if you can't do it yourself, we can do it for you.

"We hope people will come to the fire station and talk to us about their own concerns and issues.

"Firefighters will be visiting streets around Mill Lane in a hot strike over the next few days, but this event will be open to the wider community."

Co-incidentally, Boxing Day sees the 40th anniversary of the significant Rose and Crown hotel and pub fire in Saffron Walden, an incident which sparked crucial fire prevention legislation. ECFRS will be promoting business fire safety to coincide with the incident, which claimed 11 lives.

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