The coronavirus lockdown may have brought out the creative side of many UK residents, who seized the opportunity to create home offices, gyms and bars in their gardens.
But their plans brought an increased risk of fire, the BBC reported, with data showing a rise in outbuilding blazes in 2020.
Insurance company Zurich said fires in outbuildings – covering sheds, garages and conservatories – rose by 16% last year compared with 2019.
Data gathered from UK fire authorities showed there were 3,681 residential outbuilding fires recorded in 2020, up from 3,170 the year before.
Three quarters of UK areas saw a rise in fires.
Zurich said the popularity of conversions to home offices, gyms and bars had heightened the risk of fire, with extra electrical equipment and the purchase of fire pits and pizza ovens adding to the existing risks created by lawn mowers, barbecues and paint thinners.
Phil Ost, from Zurich, said: “Aside from storing gardening tools, our sheds and garages have become a haven to escape the stresses of family life and for others, a place to work.
“But as they take refuge in their garden sheds and garages, it appears to have sparked a rise in accidental blazes.”
A survey in April by insurer Aviva found one in 10 people said they worked from a converted shed, garage or summerhouse, which was expected to rise to 13%.
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