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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Overloaded plug socket sparks severe house fire

22/01/2016

Firefighters are warning residents not to overload plug sockets in the wake of a severe house fire in Tamworth.

"I cannot stress strongly enough the very real risk you can put yourself in if you overload plug sockets. In this particular incident there were no fewer than five different electrical appliances plugged into one socket which is far too many. People often believe that by using extension leads you can plug in as many items as you want but they are still being powered via one outlet and as such can be overloaded."

Fire Investigation Officer Paul Richins

Crews from Tamworth, Lichfield, Barton-under-Needwood and Chase Terrace attended the incident at the two storey terraced property on Ludgate yesterday.

The blaze broke out in a bedroom and quickly spread to the whole of the first floor.

A single wall socket was being used to power three extension leads into which a number of electrical items including a television, hi-fi system, DVD player, computer and Playstation were plugged.

The occupants, a 19-year-old male and his mother, were in the house at the time and were alerted to the blaze by a loud bang.

The male went up to the bedroom to investigate the source of the noise. When he discovered the blaze, he attempted to put the fire out before fleeing the room. One of the occupants then called 999. Paramedics treated the young man at the scene for smoke inhalation and slight burns to the hands.

Crews wore four breathing apparatus and used one hose reel jet when tackling the fire. They were not able to enter the property initially due to the severity of the incident and had to tackle it from outside.

A large scale fan was used to ventilate the house, as well as the adjoining property, when the fire had been extinguished. The first crew arrived at the scene at 2.01pm and last one left at 10.50pm. The fire has been classed as accidental.

Protect Manager Paul Richins, who carried out the Fire Investigation, said: "This family had an incredibly lucky escape. The situation could easily have had far more serious, and even life-threatening, consequences. The damage to the property was extremely severe with the upstairs of the house devastated by smoke and heat damage.

"I cannot stress strongly enough the very real risk you can put yourself in if you overload plug sockets. In this particular incident there were no fewer than five different electrical appliances plugged into one socket which is far too many. People often believe that by using extension leads you can plug in as many items as you want but they are still being powered via one outlet and as such can be overloaded.

"If you realise that a blaze has broken out in your home, we would advise you to never put yourself in danger by trying to tackle it – leave that to the professionals. Get out, stay out and dial 999.

"I would urge anyone who has concerns about electrical fire safety to visit our website at http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/424.asp where a whole host of information and advice is available to help you avoid becoming the victim of such a blaze."