THERE has been an increase in the number of people dying in fires in the home in Hampshire according to statistics released by the Home Office.

The latest figures published by the Home Office this month show that while the number of fires attended by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has reduced, there was an increase in dwelling fire deaths over a 12-month period.

The release covers the year ending September 2019, and contains statistics on all incidents, fire-related deaths and injuries from fires across England.

It shows that nine people lost their life in a fire in the home in the year ending September 2019, compared to four the previous year.

Nationally, there was an increase in the number of deaths in dwelling fires for the same period, showing a nine per cent increase.

The number of fires attended across the country reduced by 10 per cent.

In Hampshire, the service attended 4,349 fires in the year ending September 2018, which fell to 4,008 the following year.

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Roy Wilsher, has raised concerns about deaths not falling, despite a reduction in the number of incidents attended.

He said: “It is pleasing to see the number of incidents has reduced by five per cent overall, and by 10 per cent in the number of fires attended. However, I am very concerned to see the number of fatalities has increased over the same timeframe; I would like to see more information as to why this is.

“I have made it clear that fire services are facing huge challenges when it comes to the built environment. This was abundantly clear from evidence given during the opening days of the second phase on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. While fire and rescue services are doing all they can to minimise risk, two decades of building safety failure is not their responsibility to fix.

“The reality is we need to ensure services can maintain – and improve – operational response while aligning integrated risk plans to this area of work.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has been asked for a comment.