Businesses urged to take care with artificial flowers after tragic fire fatality in Madrid

Concerned fire safety officers are urging businesses to take care with artificial flowers and decorations after two people died in a fire in Madrid.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have asked businesses to take precautions in light of the tragedy in the restaurant last month.

The fire started when staff had flambéed food in the Italian restaurant and artificial decorative flowers in the dining area caught alight.

Serious fires have taken place across the UK in recent months where similar decorative flowers have caught alight in restaurants. Thankfully they didn’t result in fatalities.

TWFRS carried out a visit at one bar in Newcastle city centre last month where similar artificial foliage was present, all of which were believed to met industry standards.

However, the Service say that when they tested the flammability of the flowers in their training yard, it caught fire at an alarming rate.

Now fire safety officers have called on businesses across Tyne and Wear to take extra precautions to ensure they are not putting themselves at increased risk of a fire.

Head of Fire Safety at the Service, Group Manager Chris Lane, says they already working with local authority licencing partners to offer businesses support.

He said: “We were devastated to read about the tragedy in Madrid and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

“There have been fires in the UK in the last year of a similar nature and often it is through good fortune that nobody has been hurt or killed.

“We don’t want to be in a position where a fire of this nature takes place in our region and simply want to offer businesses support in risk assessing their premises.

“Many businesses may adorn their ceilings with decorative flowers, have walls of fake shrubbery or even have an artificial tree as a centre piece to their building.

“The concern we have is that when we tested some of these artificial decorations they quickly went up in flames, despite claims they are fire retardant.

“We are working with local authorities to ensure businesses have the appropriate support and understanding fire safety legislation on this particular issue.

“We also regularly carry out audits of premises in the region and will offer advice if we encounter any decorations we think warrant additional testing.”

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