House fires kill 160 in five years

In total, 160 people have died in house fires in the Netherlands over the past five years, of which over one third were started by cigarettes and cigars, according to research by public safety body IVF.

Electricity short-circuits and cooking are the next major causes of fatal fires at home, the IVF says in a new report. Almost half the victims were over the age of 60.

Smoke alarms were present in one fifth of the 148 homes destroyed by fatal fires. ‘This shows the presence of smoke alarms alone is not enough to warn about fires,’ the organisation said.

The IVF is to begin an investigation into the usefulness of smoke alarms in the autumn.

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