Electric heater warning after shop blaze

London firefighters are urging people to take extra care when using electric heaters after a fire and explosion at a shop on Friday.

An employee of the shop heard a loud bang and immediately evacuated with two customers and called the Brigade. A further two people evacuated the flat above the shop before the arrival Brigade.

The explosion caused the glass of half of the store front to blow out and cracked the glass in the shop door. The area behind and above the shop’s counter was damaged by fire.

The fire was accidental and is believed to have been caused by an electrical fan heater which was placed too close to butane canisters, which ruptured.

Earlier this month, the Brigade released new figures which showed that in 2016, there were 142 fires caused by electric heaters, with 31 injuries and 1 death.

Dan Daly, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety at London Fire Brigade, said: “It’s tempting to pull heaters close to you when the temperature drops but blankets and duvets or other material getting too close to heaters is a dangerous fire risk.

“Shockingly over two thirds of fatal fires involving heaters are caused by clothing or furniture being too close.

“People need to make sure their portable heaters are standing upright and kept well away from clothes, curtains or furniture.”

London Fire Brigade’s advice for using portable heaters

  • Secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters
  • Keep heaters away from clothes, curtain and furniture
  • Sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair, especially if you fall asleep
  • Always turn off your heater and allow it to cool before moving it

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