Northern Ireland

Spate of fatal fires 'devastating' says senior firefighter

Fire appliance

A senior firefighter has said he is stunned by a sudden increase in fatal house fires involving elderly people.

Seven pensioners have lost their lives in the past six weeks in NI, including 88-year-old Robert Fitzpatrick who died in Castlederg on Thursday.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford said family and friends should try to ensure the elderly stay safe.

"We are devastated - each of these fires is a separate and tragic set of circumstances," he said.

"If you have a loved one or family member who is not as mobile as they used to be, ask them if their smoke alarm is working, or if there's something you could do to make things a bit safer."

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