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New film highlights alcohol link to kitchen fires

A shocking new video has been released in a bid to prompt people to do more to prevent dozens of house fires every year which are caused by alcohol dependency.

The film, titled ‘To Save A Life’, calls on family members, carers, loved ones and neighbours to look out for people who are at risk of fire due to a range of contributory factors, including substance misuse.

Developed by Doncaster Council Public Health in partnership with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR), the film tells the story of a man who drinks heavily and puts the chip pan on, starting a house fire which leads to his death.

Several people missed opportunities to help the man in a story which fire officers say is regularly repeated across the country every year.

Head of prevention and protection Steve Helps, said: “Cooking related incidents make up half of all the house blazes we attend, but often there is much more behind these fires than someone simply letting something overheat or getting distracted in the kitchen.

“We know that alcohol makes you much more likely to suffer a fire in your home. It makes you uncoordinated and more likely to fall asleep. That’s why we need people living in our communities to be much more aware of alcohol dependency and its associated consequences, referring people for the necessary help where possible, so that we can prevent incidents like the one shown in this video from occurring in the first place.”

Dr. Rupert Suckling, Doncaster Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We all know the long term health risks associated with excessive drinking, but there are immediate risks too including accidents outside and inside the home. It’s important that people take care of themselves especially during the festive period when many people will be out celebrating.

“The purpose of this film, though, is to also encourage people to look after each other and watch out for the warning signs of alcohol dependency and any potential risks to themselves and others. Report any concerns you have to relevant services like Aspire drug and alcohol Service, the Fire Service or your GP.”

The video forms part of the fire service’s latest effort to curb kitchen blazes, which kicked off earlier this month. SYFR says it has attended 216 house fires caused by cooking in Doncaster since 2013, resulting in 51 injuries and one death.

Most of the blazes are caused by cooking that’s been left unattended, chip pans that overheat or dirty ovens that ignite due to a build up of fat and grease. But factors contributing to the fires also include alcohol, drugs and mental health issues.

The film, created by up and coming South Yorkshire director James Lockey, will now be shared at GP surgeries across Doncaster and online countywide as part of an initiative which won £15,000 in Fire Authority funding last year.

The Stronger Safer Communities Reserve fund is a scheme which reinvests money into local communities to support our work to prevent emergencies. The money has been set aside from the Authority’s reserves.

Two rounds of successful projects have been funded through the scheme, benefiting more than 40 projects with charities and community groups able to bid for sums ranging from £5,000 to £150,000.

To view the film and for more information on preventing fires visit

This content was last updated on September 25th, 2018