Example of fire claims and how they could have been prevented

Example of fire claims and how they could have been prevented

With the weather warm and people staying at home during lockdown, fire services across the UK have reported an increase in the number of call outs to outdoor fires.  We’ve also seen a rise in fire related claims – where home and garden fires more than doubled between April and May 2020.

When it comes to fire safety, a lot of advice may seem like common sense.   However, you’ll see from the examples below, that by following some practical steps, these fires may have been prevented.   

Accidents happen but fires can have devastating consequences so please do take a look at the examples below to prevent this from happening at your home.


Ignition of flammable goods

This fire was caused by the explosion of flammable goods which were stored in the shed. The items were ignited by a small spark and the shed was set alight. Common flammable items stored in outdoor spaces include: garden chemicals and pesticide, paint, oil and petrol.

How it could have been prevented:

  • Flammable items should always be stored in a suitable container.
  • Dry flammable goods shouldn’t be stored in the open.

Embers from a fire pit

This garden fire pit was placed too close to the wooden fence – hot embers escaped from the pit setting the fence alight. The fire spread across the garden.

How it could have been prevented:

  • Fire pits should be located at least 10 feet (or 3 meters) away from dry burnable items, including: wooden decks, fences and plants.
  • Keep an eye on flying sparks and embers and extinguish the fire if necessary. Also consider the weather – windy weather and embers can be a dangerous mix.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of an emergency.

Barbecue fire

The barbecue was placed in an outdoor bin only 30 minutes after use.  The bin caught fire and spread, also setting alight to some nearby firewood.

How it could have been prevented:

  • When in use and whilst still hot, barbecues should be located well away from anything flammable or anything that is likely to burn.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it – in most cases it will take at least a few hours to cool down.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of an emergency.

Log burner fire

Whilst in use, the log burner blasted a flame which set alight to the wooden decking. As the weather had been hot, the wood was dry and the fire started to spread quickly.

How it could have been prevented:

  • Log burners, fire pits, barbecues and the like shouldn’t be lit on or near any burnable or flammable material.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of an emergency.

More information?

 For further guidance regarding fire safety, you can visit Fire Service UK.  Or, take a look at some of our other blogs.


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*Policy Expert is rated the number 1 home insurance provider in the UK on independent review website – Reviewcentre.com. Based on 28,204 customer reviews and a 96% recommendation rating, January 2020.



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