Portable heater safety reminder after woman is rescued from fire

Sat 30 Jan, 2016

Firefighters are urging people to take care with portable heaters after rescuing a woman from a fire in High Wycombe late on Thursday night.

Crews from High Wycombe and Great Missenden were called to a house in Woodside Road at 11.37pm.

The fire, which started after clothes were left to dry on an airer which had been placed too close to an electric heater in the living room, was discovered by a neighbour.

The woman, who was suffering from smoke inhalation and burns to her back, was carried outside and given first aid and oxygen by firefighters before being taken to hospital.

A man who had managed to get out of the house was also taken to hospital suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke, and later released.

One of two neighbours who managed to open the rear patio doors and take the airer (pictured above) outside was given oxygen at the scene.

Watch Commander Howard Pipkin from High Wycombe Fire Station said: “The fire was discovered by a neighbour who was about to go to bed and said he could smell smoke.

“Although we do not encourage people to put themselves in positions of risk, the neighbours helped reduce the impact of the fire.”

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to put out the fire, a fan to clear the smoke and a thermal imaging camera to check for hot-spots.

Howard is urging people to remember these safety tips:

  • Portable heaters should always be positioned at least a metre away from any combustible materials such as paper, curtains, furniture  or clothes, and well away from anything which could knock them over.”
  • Never leave portable heaters unattended.
  • Never leave them on when sleeping.
  • Regularly inspect your heater for damage. If it’s damaged, don’t use it.
  • Never buy second-hand halogen heaters.
  • Never power a halogen heater from an extension lead – these can easily be overloaded and cause fires.
  • Don’t sit or stand right next to portable heaters. The advice from Stoke Mandeville Hospital's Burns Unit is to be at least three feet (one metre) away from them.