UK fire chiefs use soap opera to highlight fire safety

Viewers saw the devastating consequences as a fire tore through a row of cottages in the soap

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner

WEST YORKSHIRE, Pa. — Fire chiefs in West Yorkshire hope a soap opera will help boost home safety.

A dramatic fire in Emmerdale this week has gripped millions of viewers and now firefighters are urging people to take some simple steps to avoid becoming a victim of arson.

Scenes aired on the Yorkshire soap showed rubbish piled outside being set alight and, in the episodes which followed, viewers saw the fire spread to the building and tear through a row of cottages, having devastating consequences for the inhabitants.

West Yorkshire has five district Arson Task Forces, which spend much of their time and resources educating householders and businesses about removing rubbish from outside properties and working closely with local councils to organise their removal.

Craig McIntosh,the brigade's Director of Fire Safety, said: "Wheelie bins and piles of rubbish left outside are fuel for arsonists. When they are left close to buildings there is potential for the fire to spread, which can lead to devastating damage to property and even the tragic loss of life.

"Although in Emmerdale the fire setter deliberately targets a particular home, it goes to show how quickly fire can spread from a pile of rubbish outside to the actual property.

"Deliberate fires have huge cost implications — even a small rubbish fire costs the economy in the region of pounds 2,000."

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