New research suggests that the amount of UK house fires could be double official government statistics.

Stone Wool insulation provider Rockwool has found only half of all UK house fires were attended by fire brigades in the last five years.

The rest of the blazes were dealt with by homeowners themselves and their neighbours.

Official statistics only record incidents attended by fire brigades, of which there were 45,000 in 2010-11 according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Rockwool’s findings thus put the true figure at 90,000 house fires a year.

“Fires cause significant damage to buildings across the country and resulted in 268 deaths between 2010 – 2011, so reducing fire risk should be an important consideration for homeowners,” said Paula Bateman, Corporate Affairs Director, Rockwool UK.

“Building regulations currently ensure important standards for fire protection in both new and refurbished buildings but property owners need to understand that simply installing non-combustible insulation when renovating for energy efficiency can boost the level of fire protection in the building as well as saving money on energy bills.

“Many people do not realise that insulation can play a key role in preventing flames spreading between rooms, so ensuring insulation barriers are non-combustible and cannot burn will significantly improve fire protection in the building.

“What’s more, drilling holes in walls, through insulation can reduce the effectiveness of the fire protection and building owners need to ensure they plug any holes with fire stopping materials after refurbishment work.”

If accurate, the research suggests that UK fire protection guidelines and building regulations are based on only a partial picture of the fire risk facing homes.