Warning after e-cigarette incidents

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West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) was called to two incidents involving e-cigarettes last weekend (September 6 and 7).

The first call was to a property in Beechwood Road, Wibsey, Bradford, on September 6 and was attended by a crew from Odsal Fire Station.

An e-cigarette’s battery was being charged on a bedside unit and, when it failed, it exploded and shot across the room, coming to rest at the foot of a wardrobe.

The resulting fire was confined to the carpet around the leg of the wardrobe with smoke damage to the rest of the room.

Fire investigators believe the battery was being charged using an incorrect charger, which resulted in too much current being supplied to the battery.

In a separate incident, firefighters were called to a property in St Leonards Grove, Girlington, on September 7).

In this instance the battery was being charged with a charger supplied with the e-cigarette approximately two months earlier. It had been on charge for 15 to 20 minutes in a bedroom whilst the occupants were downstairs.

Again the battery exploded and this time set fire to the carpet, a wicker bedside unit and the edge of the bed.

A smoke detector sounded and the occupants were alerted.

Fire Investigator Sean Fearon said: “The fire service is very concerned with the increased number of fires involving e-cigarette batteries whilst on charge.

“Fire Investigators are in liaison with Trading Standards as a number of counterfeit goods have been identified previously and this can increase the likelihood of fires occurring.

“When the batteries fail they can explode. This generally results in burning battery materials being ejected into a room. Although they only burn for a short time, if they land on combustible materials like bedding or newspaper it will cause a fire to develop.

“Likewise, if somebody happens to be nearby when it happens they could get injured.”

Advice for using e-cigarettes

Never leave e-cigarette batteries unattended whilst on charge.

Only use the charger supplied with the battery as they need to be charged at the correct rate of charge.

DO NOT buy counterfeit goods as batteries/chargers may not have overcurrent protection which may lead to battery exploding.

To assist with identifying the scale of this problem, please inform WYFRS and/or Trading Standards of any fires involving e-cigarettes.

The Citizens Advice consumer helpline can be contacted on 0845 404 0506.

WYFRS Fire Investigation department can be contacted via email: Fire.Investigation@westyorksfire.gov.uk