Fires claimed three lives and led to nearly 100 casualties in Berkshire over the last year, figures reveal.

The Fire Brigades Union said that an increase in deaths from fires across the country showed that services are "wholly insufficient".

The latest Home Office statistics show two people died at home and one outdoors in incidents attended by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, in the year to June.

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Across England, 268 fatalities were recorded over the period, up from 253 the previous year.

The FBU has called for greater funding in fire and rescue services to tackle the "shocking" rise.

Matt Wrack, the union's general secretary, said: "Firefighter numbers have been slashed over the last decade, while the country’s fire safety infrastructure has been dismantled.

"Our entire system of fire safety is wholly insufficient and for far too long politicians have treated fire safety issues with utter indifference.

"We need to completely rebuild our fire and rescue service – and the Fire Brigades Union is demanding this starts immediately."

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There were also 85 fire-related casualties recorded in Berkshire over the period, most commonly occurring in homes.

Of these, 11 were severe, while a further 36 required hospital treatment for minor injuries.

The figures also show the work done by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service in preventing fires.

In 2018-19, they carried out 11,243 home fire safety checks, most commonly for elderly and disabled residents.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue area manager service delivery Tony Deacon said: "Preventing accidental dwelling fire deaths is our number one priority within our prevention work.

"We deliver a wide range of education and prevention activities and initiatives, often in partnership with other agencies to help meet our objective of zero fire deaths.

"Every member of our community can access fire safety information and advice at and we particularly draw attention to our seasonal advice, so people can share a safe Christmas with their friends and families."

He also said that the service provide targeted Safe and Well visits to the most vulnerable people in the community, to help prevent fires and reduce risks of becoming a casualty.

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Nationwide, the number of fire and rescue incidents was down 20per cent compared with a decade before, and there were 27per cent fewer fires.

But incidents have increased recently, an uptick the Home Office attributes to last year's hot summer.

It says warm, dry temperatures drove an increase in secondary fires, which are usually outdoors and less serious than those in buildings.

Fire and rescue services in England will receive around £2.3 billion for the current financial year, a spokesman added.

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