London Fire Brigade

Brigade issues ‘beauty blaze’ warning after hairdryer fire

18 April 2013

bath fire caued by candleLondon Fire Brigade has today issued a warning about ‘beauty blazes’, following a large house fire that is believed to have been caused by a hairdryer in Harrow this week.

New figures from the Brigade show that there is a ‘beauty blaze’ every fortnight in the capital, caused by items like hairdryers, straighteners, tongs, vanity mirrors, and bathroom candles.

Tom George, Acting Deputy Head of Community Safety at London Fire Brigade, said:

“Firefighters in London attend at least one of these ‘beauty blazes’ every fortnight. Whether it’s candles used during a bath or straighteners used in the morning, people need to make sure they include fire safety in their beauty routines.

“Many of the straighteners available today can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees Celsius, which is hotter than the oil in a deep fat fryer, so it’s vital that people take care.

”Candles are popular in the bathroom, but if they’re not placed on a heat proof surface, they can melt through your bath or toilet. This is especially important with tea lights, which get very hot on the bottom.”

The fire in Harrow this week caused severe damage to the first floor of a terraced house. The blaze is believed to have been caused by a hairdryer which was left on a bed. It heated up the bedding which then caught fire, and quickly spread to the rest of the room.

Fire caused by mirror and sunlightThe fire comes just days after the Brigade published a photo of some burnt straighteners on its Facebook page, which went viral and has now been seen by 4.3 million people.

The Brigade’s top three tips for avoiding a ‘beauty blaze’ are:

1. Hairdryers, hair tongs, and straighteners can get extremely hot, so it’s very important to remember to switch them off and leave them to cool on a heat proof surface.

2. Shaving or make up mirrors should be kept away from direct sunlight, along with any canisters, such as deodorant or hairspray.

3. Candles need to be placed on a surface that can’t melt or catch fire, such as a ceramic plate. Always blow them out when you leave the room, and never leave them burning without supervision.

Notes for editors:

More information on fire safety at home can be found on the fire safety pages of the Brigade's website.

The incident above occurred on 16 April 13. Two fire engines from Stanmore and one from Harrow with 14 firefighters and officers fought the blaze. They were called at 1426 and the fire was put out by 1515.

The figures account for fires from April 08 – March 13.

The LFB has revealed that  165 fires in the last five years have been caused by beauty habits.

The most prolific cause of these ‘beauty blazes’ is candles used in the bathroom. Hairdryers, curling tongs, and hair straighteners have caused 17 fires in the last five years and shaving mirrors – which are angled to magnify people’s faces – were responsible for 33 fires. When in direct sunlight, the mirrors can magnify the sun’s rays, which can concentrate heat and ignite fabric (such as curtains and carpets) nearby. There was also once incident where a can of hairspray was left too near a candle, which caused it to heat up and explode.

You can find the Brigade's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/LondonFireBrigade

High res images are available on request via the Brigade's press office on 020 8536 5922.