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Death by Fire Professor Bob Peckitt The Centre for Forensic Studies Cheswold Park Hospital.

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Presentation on theme: "Death by Fire Professor Bob Peckitt The Centre for Forensic Studies Cheswold Park Hospital."— Presentation transcript:

1 Death by Fire Professor Bob Peckitt The Centre for Forensic Studies Cheswold Park Hospital

2 Death in Fires Study of Wright and smith July 2006 Greenstreet Berman “Human behaviour in fatal fires”

3 Investigation of Fatal Fires 535 fatal fire investigations from % of all fires involved substance misuse 33% Alcohol 12 prescribed drugs

4 Alcohol and Fatal Fires Alcohol associated with fatalities at nights and weekends Less substance misuse in elderly Most in year group

5 Characteristic of Victims Mental impairment in 15 % Depression most common Physical impairment in 29% of all fires 22% wheelchair users 77% impaired in some way

6 Causes of Fires 49% caused by careless smokers Chip pan 11% Cooking 7% Naked flame 6%

7 Conclusion Accident Misadventure Recklessness Criminal damage Arson Manslaughter Murder

8 Negligent or Reckless Fire Setting 75% inappropriate attitudes and behaviour 40 % caused by careless or risky use of materials which caught fire

9 Alcohol and Cigarettes 44% due to combination of both excessive consumption of alcohol and smoking whilst drowsy.

10 Wakefulness 51% asleep 17% unconscious for some reason 75% single person household 40% men 28% women

11 Reaction From Victim 71% asleep/unconscious/ suicidal/immobile 64% fatal fires, victims impaired by alcohol prescribed drugs or mobility

12 What Burned First? Furniture 29% Bedding22% Clothing 19%

13 Detectors 30% had no detectors Lack of risk awareness Tennant status Alarms were a nuisance 23% had detector 14% fatal fires, not working

14 What We Don’t Know Ethnicity Deprivation Overcrowding

15 Known to Services 31% had been in contact with a service 12% had been in contact with fire brigade before 3% had had a fire before

16 Building Design In the same room If died and fire not in same room then Internal doors left open Smoke up the stairs Lack of alarms

17 Overall Majority of Cases Single person impaired by substance, age or depression. Carelessly ignites textiles often by cigarette or similar flame. Fails to react immediately because of impairment and lack of smoke alarm. Fires discovered by neighbour passer by because person lives alone.


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