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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Case study: Clive Molloy

Clive Molloy, St James Park, Featherstone

The following case study tells the story of Clive Molloy who sadly succumbed to an electric blanket fire and highlights that despite his active lifestyle we must all be wary of the dangers of faulty equipment.

As a young man Clive was active and won medals for Birchfield Harriers in cross-country. He was extremely house proud and his property was always kept in a clean and tidy condition. Like many people, Clive lived in a park home and liked to have an occasional drink but never to excess and in his later years was a non-smoker.

Clive was really well respected in his local community, he would often help friends and neighbours with DIY tasks, airport runs and, as he was an accomplished mechanic, helped fix motorbikes for others. He kept motorbike cases in his lounge and bedroom but he was aware of the fire risks and always drained the tanks of petrol.

He was a very popular man and would often wedge the door open so that neighbours could drop by and say hello. He had a loving and supportive family, who Clive would visit regularly.
 
Clive had been on a fire safety course and after attending, he explained to his family that they should never tackle a fire advising his family to ‘Get out and stay out’ if they discovered a fire. He had also spoken about the increased risk of his property type and understood that if his park home caught fire, it would take hold rapidly. When his daughter Tina moved house Clive spoke of the importance of smoke alarms and said he had them in his home, however we are unsure whether Clive tested them on a regular basis.

On the night of the incident, Clive visited a friend in a neighbouring property on the site, they had a few glasses of whiskey and lemonade, Clive then returned to his park home at around 11:30pm. A neighbour recalled noticing a light coming from his park home at around midnight, and shortly after it was apparent that the entire caravan was alight. Tragically Clive passed away on the evening of 16th May 2016, the cause of death was attributed to a faulty electric blanket, which we believe was between 10 – 20 years old.

It is unclear if Clive tried to tackle the fire himself Clive’s family do not believe he would have paid attention to a media campaign or press release about the dangers around the use of old electric blankets.

Clive’s family saw a big turn out to his funeral in Wolverhampton, which is testament to the affection and respect people had for Clive and the service was relayed to the people outside who could not get into the chapel.

On reflection, it is clear that Clive had strong connections with his family, who he had regular interaction with, and he was also a very active man. Clive may not typically fit the perceived profile of someone who is at an increased risk of fire. However, this shows how the combination of several individual factors can drastically change the outcome of such an event. This scenario is not limited to electric blankets. In 2015/16 we attended 603 fires involving faulty appliances or equipment.

Please test your electronic equipment regularly, refer to www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk for product recalls and guidance, register your appliances at www.registermyappliance.org.uk and if in any doubt contact the Community Advice Team for help on 0800 0241 999.