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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Warning about Wood Burners Following Incident

19/02/2013

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued an urgent warning about wood burners following an incident over the weekend in Milford where a man suffered burns using a wood burner.

"We’re very concerned that the family were advised to use bio-ethanol fuel to start the wood burner by the supplier."

Station Manager, Al Bateman

Paramedics called the Fire Service to the incident at 5.41pm on Sunday after a wood burner exploded into the face of a man in his 60s, causing burns to his head, face and body.

The family said the supplier of the wood burner had given them a bottle of bio-ethanol fuel which they were encouraged to use to start the fire in the wood burner.

Station Manager, Al Bateman said: “The man is very lucky not to be more seriously hurt, he is however still in hospital receiving specialist treatment for burns. We’re very concerned that the family were advised to use bio-ethanol fuel to start the wood burner by the supplier.

“Bio-ethanol fuel should only ever be used with bio-ethanol burners and even then extra care needs to be taken at all times as it can be an extremely dangerous substance. Last year a Staffordshire woman lost her life in a fire caused by bio-ethanol fuel. Bio-ethanol fuel or any other accelerant should never be used to light a wood burner or any other fire, it is highly-flammable and should not come into contact with hands, hair or clothing.

“We would advise anyone having a wood burner installed to check that the person carrying this procedure out is qualified to do so. Any reputable fitter will be more than happy to provide evidence of their qualifications and talk you through the correct fitting procedure before a wood burner is fitted.”

Advice for the use of Bio-Ethanol fuel and burners includes:
• Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions.
• Only use Bio-Ethanol fuel in fireboxes and containers designed for the product.
• Bio–Ethanol fuel is highly flammable and should be kept in containers tightly closed and away from any ignition sources.
• Fireboxes and containers should always be placed on a stable surface and away from combustible materials.
• Never add fuel to a burning fire or overfill a fuel container and never fill up a firebox fuel container that is still hot.
• Keep children and pets away from fireboxes and fuel.
• Extinguish all fires when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
• Always use Bio -Ethanol fireboxes and containers in a well-ventilated room.
• Regularly clean and check fuel containers for damage and never use a leaking one.
• Clean away any fuel spills with a damp cloth and dry completely.
• Keep your hands, hair and clothing well clear of any burning flames and fuel.
• Always light Bio-Ethanol fuel with an extended lighter or extra-long match –never discard matches into the container.

For more information and advice about wood burners visit: http://www.stovesonline.co.uk/