Firefighters called out to a record low number of fires in Tower Hamlets

Firefighters were called out to a record low number of fires in Tower Hamlets last year, figures reveal.

By A joint investigation between George Green's School, RADAR and The Student View · September 6, 2021

London Fire Service
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Firefighters were called out to a record low number of fires in Tower Hamlets last year, figures reveal.

London Fire Brigade says a reduction in fires across Greater London last year, as well as over the past decade, was linked to its fire prevention campaign which sees work carried out with school children and vulnerable people.

Data published by London Fire Brigade shows firefighters responded to 697 fires in 2020.

That was a 3% decrease on 721 attended in 2019, and the lowest number since comparable records began in 2009.

The data was analysed by school students across London participating in NewsTalk conferences with media literacy charity The Student View, working with data journalism agency RADAR. In Tower Hamlets students from George Green’s School took part.

Last year’s fires resulted in 33 injuries, up from 22 the previous year, while the number of deaths rose from one to two.

Across Greater London, London Fire Brigade responded to 17,411 fires in 2020 – 3% fewer than the 17,993 in 2019, and 41% down on the 29,591 in 2009, when comparable records began.

The number of fire-related injuries also dropped to 694 in 2020, from 791 the previous year, while the number of deaths fell from 36 to 30 last year.

The data also showed the number of fires across Greater London peaked in the month of May.

In a report published alongside the figures, London Fire Brigade said it had seen a continued reduction in the number of fires since 2003.

It linked the decrease with the introduction of a community safety strategy in 2000, which it said had changed the focus of the brigade from being solely an emergency service to one also offering fire prevention advice.

A spokesperson for the service said: “Although last year’s figures need to be seen in context of the pandemic, Londoners are now less likely than ever before to experience fire and people are much safer as a result.

“The reduction in fires is a great success story but as new emerging risks arise and new public behaviours change we cannot become complacent and must continue engaging with the public to continue to prevent avoidable fires starting in the first place.”

The figures also showed, of the fires attended to in Tower Hamlets last year, 49% (343) were serious fires that could harm people or cause damage to property, while 51% (354) were less serious blazes such as grass and rubbish fires.

A small number of those fires across Greater London, typically fewer than 20 each year, did not require attendance.

More stories as part of this investigation can be found here.