London Fire Brigade

New figures reveal drop in fires as Brigade publishes 'The year in fires’

23 December 2011

The number of fires and the number of people who lost their lives to fire in London fell this year, according to initial figures released today by the London Fire Brigade. The figures are revealed as the Brigade publishes its review of 2011’s most notable incidents.

In the last year, there were around 26,000 fires in the capital, a fall of three per cent on 2010. There were 55 fire related fatalities. Early expectations are that fire related fatalities will be down by five per cent. The number of other incidents such as road traffic accidents, floods, animal rescues, chemical incidents and false alarms, also fell by six per cent to around 31,000 incidents in 2011. However, there have been around 780 serious injuries in fires so far in 2011. Expectations are that serious fire related injuries will be up by around six per cent.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said:

“It’s good news that the number of fires and fire deaths has fallen but we will never be complacent.  Any fire death is one too many and we will continue to work hard to ensure that the numbers keep going down.

“The fall in fires is mainly due to the hard work our firefighters do in carrying out vital fire safety work in communities across the capital. In particular, by ensuring that as many homes have smoke alarms as possible. Smoke alarms can and do save homes and lives, it’s as simple as that.”

The Brigade has also published a month-by-month review of the major incidents and campaigns it has been involved in this year. The most high profile incidents the capital’s fire crews have been called out to include a tragic blaze in Neasden that claimed the lives of a mother and five of her children; a large fire under the M1that caused travel chaos for several days and a fire at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane which saw celebrities and VIPs evacuated from the five star hotel.

2011: The year in fires

January - Young people awarded for ‘LIFE’ skills

Around 60 youngsters are awarded for their outstanding achievements on the Brigade’s flagship youth programme, LIFE. LIFE has put the lives of thousands of young Londoners back on track since it was launched in 2002.

February - Blazing Sunday

February 20 is dubbed ‘Blazing Sunday’ the capital’s crews are called out to a record number of fires, including one in an historical building in Westminster and another in a bar in Clapham.

March - Tougher penalties for lift owners

Fire chiefs introduce tougher penalties for unnecessary lift call outs.

April - M1 blaze causes traffic chaos

A massive blaze under a stretch of the M1 in north London closes the road for several days, causing traffic chaos.

May - Swinley Forest fire

Firefighters from London are called to help tackle a massive forest fire that has broken out in Berkshire. The Brigade sends 10 fire engines to help douse the flames, which spread over an area of about two square kilometres.

June - Major blaze on the Strand

A hotel under construction on the Strand catches fire with live pictures of the blaze being beamed around the globe.

July - Hilton Hotel fire

A blaze breaks out at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, 1500 people, including celebrities and VIPs, are evacuated.

August - Riots

Fire crews face one of the busiest ever periods for the London Fire Brigade. Firefighters dealt with over 100 serious fires and 999 control officers received more than 5,000 emergency calls.

Later in the month, the London Fire Brigade offers Kate Winslet firefighter training after her brave rescue of Richard Branson’s mother from a fire on his Caribbean island.

September - Neasden house fire tragedy

In the early hours 30 firefighters are called to a serious house fire in Neasden, north west London. Tragically, a woman and five of her children died in the fire.

Following the tragedy, the Brigade launches its Share it, Save a Life campaign, which urges Facebook users to share fire safety tips with all of their online friends.

October - 2000 homes lost to fire

Brigade reveals that over 2,000 homes are lost to fires each year in the capital, causing an estimated £120m of damage.

November - Bonfire Night Twitterthon

On November 5th the Brigade holds the world’s first live Bonfire Night Twitterthon, tweeting live about every Bonfire Night blaze crews are called out to. Fire crews record the quietest Bonfire Night on record.

December - Don’t cook when drunk - get a takeaway!

Fire chiefs launch the ‘Get a Takeaway’ campaign to encourage young people not to cook after a night out drinking.

Notes to editors

Please find attached photos. The first shows two London Fire Brigade firefighters on London Road, Croydon, which was badly affected by arson attacks during the fire and was home to the famous Reeves Furniture shop. The second shows crews at the scene of a major blaze at a hotel under construction on the Strand in central London.

You can find the Brigade on Twitter @LondonFire and Facebook.

More photos and a more detailed look at the Brigade’s year are available on request.