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Press Release - Electrical Fire Safety Week – real-life stories
Posted on 27/11/2020

Firefighter Chris, from Yeovil shares a story of an electrical incident he attended recently…

I was called to a fire in a traditional terraced house. The occupant was an elderly gentleman, who was really interested in model airplanes as a hobby. He was mainly living downstairs, which is where he had his bedroom. Upstairs, there was a room which was entirely dedicated to tinkering with his models.

Sadly, he had a battery charging, which exploded whilst on charge. It set fire to the room and then spread at a vast speed, destroying most of the upstairs area of the house. I was astonished at just how quickly the fire had spread before we got there to help out – this man lived really close to our station and so it didn’t take us long to reach the house, yet the damage was already severe. The man unfortunately suffered burns and ended up needing treatment in hospital.

I think a common trend with batteries is when a battery cell fails, they heat to destruction, and then auto-ignite. The advice I would give is to make sure you have appropriate chargers rather than really cheap ones that could put you in serious danger. 

There are loads of simple things you can do to keep safe when charging. Make sure you charge on a hard surface (like a table or hard worktop. Never on a bed or carpet). Please don’t leave your electricals charging for unnecessarily long periods of time, and check on them regularly. It’s not safe to leave things charging when you can’t keep an eye on them, for example, if you go out or are asleep. If you aren’t near them, you may not spot the first warning signs, and then end up in a really scary situation. 

And of course, make sure you have smoke alarms fitted and checked on every floor of the house to alert you to danger, and enable you to evacuate safely.

I would never want to see an incident with such a devastating outcome like this again. Both the house and the poor elderly gentleman faced serious consequences. Please, follow safety advice and keep yourselves and your loved ones safe from electrical fires.

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