Warning over electrical chargers after torch explodes in Peterborough house

The torch
The torch

An exploding head torch has prompted a safety warning from fire officers after it set a bed on fire in a Peterborough home.

The family living in Peake Close, Woodston, had a lucky escape when the battery of a head torch exploded while on charge in a bedroom, setting fire to the bed in three separate places.

The scorched bedding after the fire

The scorched bedding after the fire

A resident heard a loud bang in the upstairs of the house and on discovering the small scorched areas, quickly put the fire out. The fire service was called at 7.46am on Monday (Feb 15) and although the fire was extinguished, an officer attended to investigate the cause.

The victim explained: “I charged my head torch ready for use, as I have done for the past year, and it has never shown any signs of overheating. I was in the living room when I heard a bang from upstairs and I went to investigate. If we had been out, I think we would have most certainly had a major bedroom fire, as when it went bang it shot the battery contents on the bed and the fire was instant from where the internal parts of the battery landed on the bed and floor.”

Station Commander Ady Slack said: “When the owner of the property heard a loud bang, he thought his children had fallen out of bed and was shocked to discover the small fires in the very early stages, which he smothered with water. We do not encourage people to put themselves in danger, but as the fire was so small, the resident felt it was manageable to douse the bed.

“The head torch was on a charging unit on top of bedroom draws and when the battery exploded it went flying, along with burning bits of the device. “Luckily no one was injured but this is a timely reminder to never leave electrical items on charge overnight and any charging device should only be used with supervision.

“If the occupants were not in when this happened then it would have caused a serious fire. Make sure the charger is the correct one and batteries being charged are suitable for the voltage of the charger.

“In this case, it was bought as a unit and should be compatible, however, buying from unknown sources may increase the chances of goods not meeting the standards within this country and may increase the fire risk to your property. Smoke alarms are vital in all houses and even if this occupant was not as quick off the mark to investigate, they would have been alerted to the issue thanks to working smoke alarms in the property activating.”

The fire service recommends chargers are electrically approved for use in the UK and meet British Standards, and should never be covered or insulated.