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Fires caused €9.5m worth of damage last year

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A total of €9.5 million worth of damage was caused by fires in 2023, the fire service announced on Tuesday.

As part of a review of the year, they said the lion’s share of damage caused by fires in 2023 was suffered in urban areas, at a total cost of €8.4m.

They also said they responded to a total of 11,919 calls for assistance, which included emergency calls regarding fires and other eventualities, false alarms, and prank calls.

Of those calls, a total of 6,649 were fires, with a roughly even split between urban and rural fires. This was a total increase of three per cent on 2022.

Around 64 per cent of fires started in rural fires were started “maliciously”, they said, with human activity accounting for the causes of 90 per cent of rural fires.

Urban fires were mostly caused by electrical problems in vehicles, the failure of electrical appliances, cigarette butts, and malicious acts, with human activity also accounting for the causes of 90 per cent of urban fires.

The fire service noted, however, that despite the increase in the number of urban fires, the total cost of the damage they caused was lower than the previous year.

In addition, they made 25 rescues of people trapped in burning buildings, one higher than the previous year. Five people also died in fires last year, the same number as in 2022.

The amount of countryside burnt by fires last year was 21.26km², up on 2022’s figure by 7.18km².

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