Woman, 81, dies in Westfield house fire

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A WOMAN died in a fire which broke out in her Westfield home early this yesterday morning (Thursday).

Two fire crews from Cumbernauld and one from Kilsyth responded to an emergency call at around ten minutes past midnight.

Crews went out from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Fire Stations

Crews went out from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Fire Stations

The crews arrived to find the fire was already well developed.

Six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property to find one 81-year-old woman had already lost her life. A 51-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man were also inside the house - they received treatment at the scene for burns and smoke inhalation and were taken by ambulance to Monklands Hospital.

Fire investigators and police are currently investigating the cause of the blaze.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “The loss of life through fire in the home is utterly devastating and the thoughts of everyone will be with those inviolved in this tragedy.

“In the aftermath of fatal fire it’s important to determine what happened and of course we are working closely with our police colleagues to do exactly that.

“Any death through fire must make us all reflect on the risks within the home and think about what we can do to protect ourselves and those around us, especially older people or others who might need our help to stay safe.

“The sad fact is we know older people are particularly vulnerable to house fires.

“Almost a third of people injured through fire in the past five years were aged 60 or over, while three-quarters of preventable fire deaths were people aged 50 and over.

“The reasons for this are clear - older people are more likely to live alone, be on medication and long-term medical conditions including dementia, other cognitive impairments and difficulty with their sight or hearing.

“Our crews are constantly working to help keep vulnerable members of their communities safe. Preventing fatal fires is not something we can do alone. We really do need the public to help us reach everyone who could benefit from support.

“I would appeal for everyone to ask themselves if someone they know could be at risk. If the answer is yes then please act now and help them stay safe.

“We need active citizens to take responsibility for the safety of others; to talk to vulnerable friends and neighbours about the danger of fire, make sure they have working smoke alarms and know what to do in an emergency.

“If someone puts a potentially vulnerable resident in touch with us then we can arrange to go to their home and help them take very simple steps to dramatically reduce the risk of a fire happening.

“We can fit smoke alarms free of charge. That alone could alert householders quickly if fire does break out.

“It will give them confidence, reassure them that their home is protected and it really could save their life.

“People should also consider fitting a heat alarm within kitchens - the room where most house fires start - as the devices are specifically designed to give early warning of fire.“

To arrange a home fire safety visit call SFRS on 0800 0731999 ir text FIRE to 80800. Alternatively arrange a visit via the SFRS website at www.firescotland.gov.uk.