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Fire Research Notes


Gaunt, J.E. and Chandler, S.E., 1964. DEATHS IN FIRES IN 1962. Fire Research Notes 567


Over 50 per cent of the deaths considered in this report were due to the following four causes:- (I) open fires, (II) oil stoves, (III) smoking materials and (IV) electric space heaters. A further 26 per cent were due to unknown sources of ignition. Together; therefore, these causes accounted for more than three quarters of the total number of deaths. The victims of fires caused by open fires and electric space heaters largely tended to be old people, particularly women who were on their own and whose clothing became ignited while being worn. The appliances were generally unguarded and the victims were often physically disabled. There were 36 deaths of children under the age of 5 years and the principal cause was the overturning of oil stoves. At least 26 of these children were alone either in a room or in a building at the time of the fire. At least 8 were alone for a period of less than 10 minutes, 7 of these being alone in the building where the fire occurred. Smoking materials were the cause of fires chiefly responsible for deaths of the remaining age group - particularly smoking materials which had been dropped onto bedclothes or upholstery. Many of the victims of these fires appeared to have been asphyxiated while asleep.

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