A hair dryer which was accidently switched on by a door swinging open caused a fire on Gratton Road in Kensington, west London last week.
Fire investigators from the London Fire Brigade believe that the hairdryer was only partially unplugged so when the door swung open, it pushed the plug back in. As the hair dryer had been left switched on, it started to blast out hot air which heated a number of items left on the floor, including an aerosol can which then exploded causing a fire.
Head of Fire Investigation Charlie Pugsley said:
“While this is an unusual chain of events, it shows how important it is to not leave items like hair dryers and straighteners plugged in.
“Thankfully the resident was alerted to the fire quickly when the aerosol can exploded. Had he not been in, the fire could have quickly spread and this story could have had a very different ending.
“Smoke alarms also went off in the home, which also gave an extra warning of the blaze. I can’t stress how important it is to have working smoke alarms in your home. Not only are they your first warning that there is a fire, but if you are out, your neighbours might hear the alarm.”
Fires involving hair dryers and straighteners are not uncommon. In 2013 firefighters rescued an unconscious woman from a house in Southgate after a fire was believed to be caused by faulty hair straighteners that had been left switched on lying on a wooden laminated floor. In the same year, just a few weeks earlier, two young boys were rescued from a bedroom in a house in Pinner after a woman had been using her hair straighteners and accidentally left them switched on. It’s believed she went down to collect the food, leaving the hot straighteners on a pile of clothes, which then caught fire.
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.