Bedroom fire caused by Electric blanket - Chalfont St Peter

Tue 23 Oct, 2018


"Remember to check your electric blankets before using them" is the message from firefighters, following a bedroom fire in Chalfont St Peter last night (Monday 22 October 2018).

Firefighters from Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield used four sets of breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet, a thermal imaging camera and a PPV fan to tackle the fire and smoke that resulted after an electric blanket caught fire in the bedroom of a house in Lambscroft Way, Chalfont St Peter.

Gerrards Cross Watch Commander Andrew Holtzhausen explained what happened: “This incident highlights a caution that electric blankets should be inspected before plugging in and switching on, if they are old or have not been used for a while. It is also important to have working smoke alarms in your home.

“The occupants were very lucky that they were present and awake when this happened. They had switched their blanket on and left it to warm the bed while they were downstairs.

“Just before 10pm they heard a loud bang and went upstairs to investigate, but were met with smoke and so they dialled 999. When we arrived the entire first floor was smoke logged by a fully developed fire in the bedroom.

“Although the first floor of this property has been significantly damaged, we were able to deal with it quickly, rapidly deploying crew members in breathing apparatus to tackle the seat of the fire, while our colleagues from Beaconsfield were able to initiate positive pressure ventilation to clear the smoke and our working area.

“The prompt action taken by the occupants in calling us, and the responding crew, enabled us to quickly stop the fire developing further.

“There were no smoke alarms present in the property and if this incident had occurred when the occupants were sleeping we could have been faced with a horrible situation. As it was, we were able to initiate a home fire risk check once the initial fire was dealt with, and provide the residents with advice.”

Jo Cook, Community Safety and Safeguarding Manager said: “The pictures showing what happened at this incident are a shocking reminder of how quickly an undetected fire can develop.

“Working smoke alarms can provide an early alert and should be fitted on every level of your home as a minimum. If you do not have any smoke alarms or your smoke alarms have stopped working, request a Home Fire Risk Check by calling 01296 744477 or send an email to centraladmin@bucksfire.gov.uk”

Jo, and Watch Commander Holtzhausen, advise getting your checked or replaced if it shows any of the following danger signs: 

Old BEAB safety mark.jpg

  • - It displays the old BEAB safety mark (pictured right - if it carries this mark it will be more than 10 years old and will not comply with the latest safety standard). 
  • - The fabric is worn or frayed.
  • - There are scorch marks anywhere.
  • - The tie-tapes (where originally fitted) are damaged or missing.
  • - The flex is worn or damaged.
  • - Any connections at the plug or controls are loose.
  • - The heating wires have been damaged or displaced. To check, hold the blanket up to the light - the wires should be evenly spaced and not touch each other anywhere.
  • - Or if you are in any doubt whatsoever!

Good practice guidelines when choosing your blanket:

  • - Always buy new. Second-hand blankets may not be safe.
  • - Look out for a European Certification Mark, such as the new BEAB safety mark (below), on the blanket and packaging. This will mean it conforms to the latest European safety standard.