Panto stars back Rotherham fire safety drive

Panto stars have taken a break from treading the boards to back a major fire service campaign to drive down house fires this Christmas.

Stars of Rotherham Civic Theatre's production of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs popped out of rehearsals to meet some of the firefighters who will be keeping the borough safe this yuletide.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is stepping up its efforts to help Rotherham celebrate Christmas safely, with the risk of accidental house fires traditionally spiking in December.

Former STEPS singing star Lee Latchford-Evans, who plays the Prince in the popular production, joined co-stars Ben Nickless and Stephanie Dooley in meeting the crew from Maltby fire station and learning about some of their work.

Lee said: “It was fantastic to meet some of the firefighters who will be keeping the borough safe.

“Christmas is a time for celebration, but we’re really keen to do anything we can to raise awareness of the fire service's important safety messages, so everyone can have as safe and as happy a Christmas as possible.

Steve Makepeace, head of community safety for SYFR, said: “The risk of fire in the home is an all year round issue, but people are particularly vulnerable at Christmas for reasons ranging from unsafe electrical decorations and unattended candles, to cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol.

People also vastly underestimate the deadly strength of toxic smoke and overestimate how long they have to escape should a fire break out. 

“The reality is that just two to three breaths of smoke in a fire can render a person unconscious.

“Christmas should be a time for celebration rather than tragedy and for this reason I'm urging people to be fire aware and stay fire safe.”

Cooking, candles, fairy lights and dry Christmas trees all present particular fire hazards in the home at this time of year, with residents more at risk of fire at Christmas than at any other time of the year.

Advice being offered to residents includes checking your smoke alarm is working properly, never leaving cooking unattended and avoiding cooking whilst drunk. 

Fire chiefs also say to never leave candles unattended, keep decorations, cards and wrapping paper away from candles, fires, lights and heaters and ensure you switch off fairy lights and unplug them before you go to bed, or leave the house.

For more information about seasonal fire safety, visit


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