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Record fire damage costs of 34 million a day spark fears of surge in largescale fires

Businesses and homeowners battling through the recession are being hit by an increasing fire threat according to figures released today by the ABI (Association of British Insurers). The cost of fire damage in 2008 rose by 16% on 2007 to a record £1.3 billion - £3.4 million every day. The figures show that in 2008:

· Commercial fire damage cost £865 million, up 15% on the previous year. School fires alone cost £33 million, with a serious school fire occurring every month on average.

· Fire damage to homes cost £408 million, up 17% on the previous year.

Nick Starling, the ABI's Director of General Insurance and Health, said:

"These are alarming figures. They highlight both the importance of fire insurance, and reducing and managing the fire risk.

"We know that arson tends to increase during an economic downturn. Insurers are reporting a rise in large-scale fires that are increasingly putting lives at risk. We believe that arson and fraud are contributing factors. We are investigating this worrying trend, and will be publishing our recommendations for tackling the problem later this year."

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Last updated 01/07/2016