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London Fire Brigade issue smoke alarm warning just a few weeks after three die in Hornchurch blaze

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 February 2017

Police outside the house in Laburnum Avenue, Hornchurch, where three people died. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah

Police outside the house in Laburnum Avenue, Hornchurch, where three people died. Photo: Ann-Marie Abbasah

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The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has urged people to check their smoke alarms after it revealed five out of seven fatal fires since the turn of the year had no working smoke alarms fitted in their homes.

The information is being released in an unprecedented move ahead of the inquests in a bid to avoid further lives being lost.

One of the seven fatal fires this year in London happened in Laburnum Avenue, Hornchurch, on February 6.

Despite the efforts of the London Fire Brigade and the London Ambulance Service, three people sadly died.

They are three of 10 people who have died in fires across the capital since the beginning of 2017.

In all but one of these cases, the LFB was only called when a neighbour noticed the fire.

In the other instance the smoke alarm operated and was linked to a personal alarm provider who called the brigade.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “While the coroner has yet to determine cause of death we believe that many of these deaths could have been avoided if the victims had working smoke alarms.

“Often the most deadly fires are small fires that quietly smoulder and smoke while people are asleep or in a different room. Without the early warning of a smoke alarm, people can be over come with smoke before the fire is discovered.

“It is devastating that in 2017 people are dying from fire in homes without life saving smoke alarms on every level of their property.”

The three people who died in the Hornchurch fire make up for nearly half the people in London who are aged 65 and over that have died in fires this year.

The LFB is therefore asking care staff, neighbours and family members who look after or visit some of our most vulnerable residents to get in touch with their local fire and rescue service if they notice signs of someone being at risk.

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