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Dangers of barbecues on high-rise balconies during Coronavirus lockdown

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is warning members of the public about the dangers of having a barbecue on balconies of high-rise buildings during the Coronavirus lockdown.

The message comes after the brigade has been called to attend a small number of barbecues on balconies of high-rise buildings in recent days, particularly in central Leeds.

The most recent incident was last night when the Fire Service was called to a high-rise building where BBQ coals had been placed into a plastic plant pot on a small balcony, which started to smoke. Fortunately no fire spread and it was out on the arrival of firefighters shortly before 7.30pm.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “It is fortunate that this incident did not turn into something more serious.

“We are sympathetic to the fact that residents who live in flats in urban areas may be feeling cooped up and are looking for ways to enjoy the small outdoors areas available to them.

“However, having a barbecue on a balcony does pose a risk of fire spreading and could potentially put yourself, your family or flatmates, and other residents at risk should this happen. We have seen a small rise in this activity and as we now enter another weekend on lockdown we do not want to see anyone put at risk.

“Smoking on balconies can also cause a fire and we urge people to be extremely vigilant at this time.

“Should a fire occur in this way, it would not only pose challenges to the Fire Service in tackling it, but it could also impact on people’s ability to maintain social distancing and it could put further pressure on our NHS should any injuries occur. Consider the potential wider consequences and please do not have barbecues on balconies.”

The Fire Service is also aware that some high-rise buildings are subject to stringent restrictions due to having flammable cladding. In these buildings it is imperative that there are no barbecues on balconies.

We strongly urge managing agents of all high-rise buildings to pass this safety message on to their residents.

Abigail Tubis, founder of the Leeds Cladding Scandal action group, added: “We support West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in getting this important safety message out.

“We urge people to take heed and refrain from having barbecues on balconies which could pose a fire risk.”

For more information on home fire safety visit the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

www.westyorksfire.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter @WYFRS or on our official Facebook page.