Independent Senator Professor Sir Henry Fraser is calling for analysis of the causes of house fires here, particularly in small dwellings.
Speaking in the Senate today Sir Henry raised concern about the frequency with which people in small homes were losing their entire possessions, and some cases, their lives, because of house fires.
Of equal concern, he said, was that little research was being done to determine how best to curtail the problem.
“This is something which seems to be passing over the heads of our authorities and of our researchers and I would ask that a serious attempt be made to analyze the cause of these fires and to do something about it,” he said during debate on a resolution for the vesting in the National Housing Corporation of a parcel of land at Arch Hall, St Thomas under the Crown Lands (Vesting and Disposal) Act.
“I have been amazed by the frequency with which we read in the news and we see on the television news night after night, sometimes twice in one week, fires that have taken place at people’s residences and we never see any analysis, any research done, any reports on subsequent causes of these fires. And this concerns me greatly.”
While not pointing to a definite link between the development and the frequent house fires, the senator noted that in the old days people often built their stoves, ovens and cooking facilities outside of the main house, thereby reducing the possibility of house fires.
He also expressed concern over the use of cooking gas in homes, stating he was “afraid of gas and we cook in my house on electricity because it does seem to me that an electric stove is safer than gas”, while acknowledging that electric fires do occur.
Senate Majority Leader Maxine McCLean, who moved the resolution, said the parcel of land in question was for the provision of space for adjustments to the Arch Hall Fire Station.
“I believe that in providing this land we are doing something of immense importance, of public service, or we can call it a public good, that perhaps does not in the normal scheme of things or on a routine basis have much said about it, but it’s an extremely important service,” McClean said.