Fire caused by curling tongs

Wed 11 Sep, 2013

Firefighters are urging people who use curling tongs or hair straighteners to take extra care following a fire in Denham.

Crews from Gerrards Cross, Beaconsfield and High Wycombe were called to a fire in a bedroom in Bakers Wood at 12.41pm yesterday.

Watch Manager Andy Maloney, the incident commander, from Gerrards Cross Fire Station, said: "The fire was caused by curling tongs which, although they had been unplugged after use, were then placed on a clothes basket which was covered with material.

"This happened at about 7am, but the alarm was not raised for nearly six hours because the occupants went out. This gave the fire time to smoulder and burn and cause a lot of smoke damage to the upstairs rooms.

"Obviously curling tongs and hair straighteners should be switched off and unplugged after use, but it is also important to place them on a hard, heat-resistant, non-flammable surface or a mat specially designed for the purpose.

"Straighteners and tongs should never be put down on carpets or bedding during or after use, and they should always be kept out of reach of children."

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put the fire out using a jet and a hose reel, and a thermal imaging camera to check for hot-spots.

There were no working smoke alarms in the house, but the burglar alarm went off after several hours when the smoke was eventually picked up by its motion sensor.

Andy is reminding people to fit smoke alarms if they do not already have them, and to carry out a weekly test to make sure their smoke alarms work.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free safety check in your home, fitting free smoke alarms where they are needed. Ring 01296 744477 or send an email to to book one of these checks.