A population-based descriptive investigation of housefire accidents in Denmark was carried out for the two five year periods 1953-58 and 1988-93, based on death certificates, police reports and autopsy reports. The number of deaths due to housefire accidents in Denmark has increased (1953-58: 136 (66 men and 70 women), 1988-93: 363 (212 men and 150 women), mostly due to an increase in tobacco-smoking related fire accidents. In 1988-93 the three common causes of housefire deaths were tobacco-smoking, often in combination with alcohol intoxication or handicap (51%), cooking-accidents (10%) and accidents with candles (9%). The largest risk groups were chronic alcoholics, handicapped and elderly people. In conclusion, warnings should be issued against smoking in bed and use of loose-fitting clothing while cooking on an open fire. Protective aprons and devices for use while smoking, self-extinguishing cigarettes and use of fireproof materials in furniture and clothing may prevent ignition. Smoke-alarms may secure early warning.
Ugeskrift for Læger, 1998, Vol 160, Issue 23, p. 3403-3407
Retsmedicin; Forensic Medicine; Fire fatalities; Epidemiologi; epidemiology; Ulykker; injuries