Drugs and alcohol played a part in 835 house fires in Scotland last year

DRUGS or alcohol were contributing factors to 835 house fires in Scotland in 2011 – almost half of which were in the Strathclyde area.

The statistics come from The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA).

Some eleven people died and 248 were injured in such incidents last year – with the CFOA warning that even small amounts of alcohol can dramatically increase the risk of fire.

CFOA chairman David Dalziel said: “Regretfully, alcohol consumption still plays a major part in influencing people’s behaviours and their ability to respond. The reality is that being under the influence of alcohol can affect your ability to escape should a fire occur, even with moderate consumption.

“All too often our crews are faced with the horrific effects of fires where alcohol has been a contributory factor. We urge people not to put themselves or others at risk by smoking or cooking at home when they’ve had a drink.”

The statistics are contained The Fire Statistics Scotland 2010-11 report. It shosed drog or alcohol impairment was a contributory factor in 835 fires – 411 of which were in the Strathclyde area.

The most commons causes in alcohol-related cases involved cirgarettes, lighters, matches and cooking.

Of the 6,336 house fires in Scotland last year, 40 people lost their lives and around 1,100 people were injured. Almost half of the properties involved did not have a working smoke alarm.

Mr Dalziel said: “It’s important to have working smoke alarms fitted and know what the escape plan for the property is. Your local fire and rescue service provide free home fire safety advice. Please ask for it.”