Baroness Boothroyd the former speaker of the House of Commons is warning people about the dangers of leaving an electric fan heater unattended after one caused a fire in her Westminster flat last week.
She discovered burning coming from her kitchen and reacted quickly by immediately closing the kitchen door, getting out and dialling 999. Baroness Boothroyd was treated for smoke inhalation by the London Ambulance Service outside the building, but was not taken to hospital.
The Rt Hon. Baroness Boothroyd OM said:
“I am sharing my story to raise awareness of how dangerous portable electric fan heaters can be if they are left unattended. During the cold snap, lots of people will be relying on them for extra heat so please listen to the advice from London Fire Brigade. Never leave them unattended and ensure they are not too close to clothes, curtains or furniture.”
Charlie Pugsley Head of Fire Investigation said:
“This incident is a timely reminder that portable electric heaters can be very dangerous and should never be left unattended or left on while you are asleep.
“A third of fatal electrical fires involve heaters and there have been 10 deaths in the last five winters. In this case, the likely cause is the heater over heating and catching fire. Another very common cause of fires are heaters being left too close from clothes, curtains or furniture.
“Baroness Boothroyd correctly reacted when discovering the fire and I would urge anyone thinking of using a portable heater to keep the cold out tonight to use them carefully.”
Two fire engines and around 10 firefighters and officers from Lambeth and Chelsea Fire Stations attended the incident. The damage caused by the fire was limited to Lady Boothroyd’s kitchen.
The Brigade was called at 1858 and the fire was brought under control by 1932.