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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Electric blanket warning following fatal fire

06/11/2015

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging members of the public to think about their safety after an investigation established that an old electric blanket was responsible for a fire in which an older gentleman died.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your electric blanket is safe - as this incident has highlighted, the consequences can be devastating. Older blankets should be replaced."

Fire Investigation Officer Paul Shaw

The fire occurred in the resident’s house on Louise Street in Burslem yesterday (Thur) morning. A joint fire and police investigation established that the fire was caused by an electric blanket that was at least 20-years-old. Wear and tear on the wires in the blanket caused the wires to arc and produce heat which set fire to surrounding combustibles.

Fire Investigation Officer Paul Shaw said: "This was a tragic accident that sadly could have been avoided. We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your electric blanket is safe - as this incident has highlighted, the consequences can be devastating. Older blankets should be replaced.

"It isn’t just older blankets that can put you at risk. We find that a lot of people fold up their electric blankets when they’re not in use, however this can sometimes damage the internal wiring, making them dangerous."

According to the Electrical Safety Council you should think about replacing your electric blanket every 10 years. It is important to get your blanket checked to make sure it is still safe to use – ideally this should be once a year by a competent electrician.

Firefighters from Sandyford, Hanley, Newcastle and Biddulph attended the incident after an emergency call was received at 8.11am.

They wore breathing apparatus and used two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire.

To book a free Home Fire Risk Check contact: 0800 0241 999.  For all other non- emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk. In an emergency dial 999.