Safety warning after microwave wheat bag fire

Thu 31 Dec, 2015

Firefighters are urging people to take care with microwave wheat bag heat packs after a fire in a flat in Aylesbury last night.

They gave oxygen to a woman who was suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke. Three other women and a man were assessed by paramedics.

A crew from Aylesbury was called to Prebendal Close shortly after 10pm. The wheat bag, pictured above, had caught fire after being heated in a microwave oven for too long, and the smoke had set off an automatic fire alarm.

Crew Commander Kieron Thomas said: “This incident illustrated not only how dangerous wheat bags can be if they are not used properly, but also how important it is to have working smoke alarms.”

Kieron offered the following safety advice:

  • Follow the heating instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully.
  • Never leave the bag in unattended when heating.
  • Ensure the microwave turntable turns freely with the bag on it and is not obstructed.
  • Do not use the bag if there are any signs of over-use, such as discolouration or a smell of burning.
  • Do not keep the bag insulated after initial heating (for example, by placing it in a bed).
  • Never reheat the bag until it has completely cooled, which could be up to two hours. 
  • Before putting it away, leave the bag to cool on a non-combustible surface such as a kitchen sink.