London Fire Brigade

Brigade issues heater warning following kids' bedroom blaze

29 February 2012

The London Fire Brigade has issued a warning following a recent fire where the beds of two young children were burnt by a blaze caused by an electric heater.

The fire was at a family home in Dagenham and started in a bedroom shared by two girls, thought to be aged two and three. It is thought that the family regularly placed an electric heater in between the children’s beds to keep them warm at night. On the night of the fire one of the children’s duvets fell onto the floor and landed on the heater, which then caught fire.

Paul McClenaghan, Station Manager of Dagenham Fire Station, said: “There were no smoke alarms in the home but fortunately the smoke woke one of the children up, who then alerted the parents who called 999. It’s incredibly lucky that the child woke up because if she hadn’t, this could have ended in absolute tragedy. If the family had smoke alarms, the parents may well have been alerted sooner.

“We’d urge extreme caution when using electric heaters, which aren’t really designed to be left on over night  or when you leave the house and should always be placed well away from flammable items, like duvets or curtains.”

Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters from nearby Dagenham and Ilford fire stations were called to the fire at 4.47am on February 20th. Firefighters arrived at the house and put the fire out within minutes of the parents calling 999. An ambulance was called scene and the two year old girl was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation; she is not thought to have been seriously injured.  

The Brigade offers the following advice about heaters:
• Never sit too close to the heater as you could set light to your clothes or chair, especially if you fall asleep.
• Heaters should stand where they can't be knocked over, away from beds, furniture and fabrics.
• Do not put anything on the heater or use it to dry clothes. 

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more fire safety advice, including information about smoke alarms and heater, please go to the Brigade’s website or Facebook page.