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Spiralling energy bills and the recent cold snap are forcing households to seek out cheap ways of heating their home – with potentially lethal consequences.

Households looking for alternative and cheaper ways of lighting and heating their homes due to the cost-of-living crisis could be increasing risks of fire, as people are urged to be mindful of any potential dangers over the Christmas period.

The Local Government Association, which represents fire and rescue authorities, is urging people to be careful when using candles for lighting and heating, running electrical products at night when rates are cheaper, not sweeping wood burner chimneys, or using electric heaters.

Last year 181 people died in house fires and people trying to cut costs as a result of soaring energy bills may be putting themselves more at risk, the organisation said.

The LGA listed fires caused by candles and appliances over the past few weeks, such as a fire in Uxbridge sparked by a candle, a blaze in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, caused by a tumble dryer being used late at night, and a house fire in Essex caused by an electric heater being too close to an armchair, killing an elderly man.

This month Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service raised concerns the cost-of-living crisis was causing more people to take risks to heat their homes with a rise in property fires. Firefighters believe they could have been caused by people who are struggling to pay their energy bills trying to find cheaper ways of lighting and heating their homes.

Cllr Frank Biederman, chair of the Fire Services Management Committee at the LGA, said: “Many people are understandably seeking ways to reduce costs and save money as we try to manage soaring energy bills and the impact of inflation.

Last year 181 people died in house fires and people trying to cut costs as a result of soaring energy bills


“However, it is vital that this is not at the expense of staying safe.

“We want to raise awareness of the dangers of cutting corners when it comes to lighting and heating our homes.

“This is why we are urging people to prevent a tragedy by following a few simple safety steps, including making sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and test them regularly, which could save your or a loved one’s life.”

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