Last updated: 14/08/2018, 3:33 PM

Five escape after electric unicycle fire - Deptford

14/08/2018 00:46
House or flat fire

Five people had a lucky escape after an electric unicycle caught fire at a block of flats in Liardet Street in Deptford.

Crews were called after the self-balancing unicycle caught fire in the communal stairwell of the block.

Part of the stairwell was damaged by the fire and crews wearing breathing apparatus rescued three adults from one flat and an adult and a child from another flat via a ladder. Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries.

The Brigade's fire investigators believe the cause of the fire was the failure of a lithium iron battery and firefighters are warning people to take care when using this type of equipment as it can pose a fire risk.

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “They had bought the unicycle online it was only a week old and had been used once.

“It started to smell funny so they put it out in the communal area and it caught alight.

“People should be careful when purchasing products like these as there are some on sale which are non compliant and could be unsafe and pose a fire risk.

“We’d recommend using the National Trading Standards product safety checklist and keeping an eye on Electrical Safety First’s recall list.

“This incident also shows the importance of smoke alarms as a number of the flats didn’t have any which were working. Homes need multiple smoke alarms or you won’t be properly covered. Ideal spots for smoke alarms include rooms where you leave electrical equipment running .

“As a minimum you should have smoke alarms on every floor - in the hallways and the rooms you use the most, plus a heat alarm in the kitchen and the bathroom and they should be tested regularly.

"While we understand the reason they brought the item out into the stairwell, we would urge people not to store things in communal areas of flats as they can block residents' fire escape routes and can hamper firefighters trying to tackle fires."

The Brigade’s top electrical safety tips are:

• Don't use imitation electrical chargers as they may be unsafe
• Make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them
• Unplugging appliances and chargers when you are not using them or when you go to bed helps reduce the risk of fire
• For plugs that do not come fitted to the appliance, always check you're using the right fuse
• Keep to one plug per socket
• If you use an adaptor, use a fused 'in line' type. The adaptor or extension lead will have a limit of how much power it can safely provide so be careful not to overload sockets
• Remember: scorch marks, flickering lights, hot plugs and sockets, fuses that low or circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reasons could be signs of loose or dangerous wiring

The Brigade was called at 0046 and the fire was under control at 0116. Two fire engines and around 10 firefighters from Deptford and New Cross fire stations attended the scene.

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