MORE than a quarter of accidental house fires in most parts of East Lancashire were affected by people taking alcohol or drugs, according to new figures.

The figures, published for the first time today, provide details of call-outs during the period from September 2010 to October 2011.

It came as the service called on householders to make sure they have working smoke alarms after a man was killed at his home in Pleckgate Road.

The broken down figures show 28 per cent of accidental fires in Blackburn with Darwen were caused by drugs or alcohol, with 27 per cent in Hyndburn and 14 per cent in the Ribble Valley.

In Burnley the figures were 30 per cent, with 18 per cent in Pendle and 39 per cent in Rossendale.

Fire service spokesman John Taylor said: “Though our fire prevention efforts have resulted in a reduction in the number of accidental dwelling fires, the percentage of those linked to alcohol or drugs has stayed the same.

“A review of casualties in 2009 to 2010 and 2010 to 2011 revealed that alcohol or drugs featured in an average of one in four incidents.”

Across Lancashire, two fatal fires last weekend, one in Pleckgate Road, Blackburn, and the other in Leyland, and another three fires overnight on Tuesday in which people were rescued by fire crews, has highlighted the need for working smoke alarms.

Mr Taylor said: “In some of these fires, the age and infirmity of the casualties was a factor and we are asking people to rise to the challenge and consider the welfare of elderly neighbours as much as you do your own and that of your loved ones.”

Throughout East Lancashire, firefighters are undertaking Home Fire Safety Check visits to domestic properties where, at the invitation of the householder, they will identify potential fire hazards such as overloaded electrical sockets and clothes left to dry too near to heaters and give advice.

Home Fire Safety Check visits may be booked for free on 0800 1691125.