For Immediate Release

Firefighters highlight new danger from bioethanol burners

 Friday 13th February 2015

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has issued a safety warning after attending two 999 incidents involving bioethanol burners in the past 2 months.

Firefighters from Shoreham were called to a house on Holmbush Way in Southwick on Saturday evening (Saturday February 7th2015) when a bioethanol fuel bottle exploded injuring one of the occupiers and damaging their home.

This followed an incident in December 2014 at a house in Worthing, where a bioethanol burner bought from e-bay caused a fire which left the occupier’s carpet burned and the chimney breast blackened.

Bioethanol flame effect fires have become an increasingly popular feature in people’s homes, offering the visual attraction of the flames of a ‘real’ fire but not requiring the installation of flue and/or chimney.

Fire Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Paul Wykes, said:

“Bioethanol fuel, whether in liquid or gel form, is highly flammable and can burn without a visible flame so should be treated with extreme caution both when using and storing it. In this incident the occupier had attempted to re-fill the fire not realising it was still alight, resulting in burns to his hands and feet which required hospital treatment. We’d urge people not to fill the burners with fuel when they are switched on.

“Bioethanol burners and fires are relatively new products so there are currently no European safety standards governing their safety, quality and function. For anyone considering purchasing one we’d advise people to buy only from reputable retailers and ensure they follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.”

Advice for the use of Bio Ethanol burners:

  1. Beware of cheap, substandard products
  2. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions carefully
  3. Bio Ethanol fuel is highly flammable and should be kept in approved containers that are tightly closed and away from any ignition sources
  4. Remember that the flame can be almost invisible especially when the fuel becomes low
  5. Never add fuel to a burning fire, refuel using approved small containers only once the fire has been extinguished and is cold
  6. Keep children and pets away from fireboxes and fuel
  7. Extinguish all fires when leaving a room or before going to sleep
  8. Regularly clean and check the fuel container for damage and never use if it is leaking
  9. Wipe up any spillages before igniting the bioethanol. Keep fuel away from clothes. Don’t refuel when under the influence of alcohol .
  10. Always light Bio Ethanol fuel with an extended lighter or extra-long match – never discard matches into the container

For Immediate Release

Tuesday 13th January 2015

Fire safety warning following 3 tumble dryer fires

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to take extra care when using their tumble dryers after attending 3 fires involving the appliances in just 10 days.

Crews from Crawley were called to Rhodes Way in Tilgate to extinguish a tumble dryer fire at midnight on January 3rd. This was followed by another tumble dryer fire just after midday last Saturday (January 10th) at Henty Gardens in Chichester. A third call was received at 9.45am this morning (January 13th) reporting a tumble dryer fire at a cottage on West Street in Sompting.

Thankfully, all three fires were extinguished quickly and none of the occupiers were injured. However, fires involving electrical appliances have the potential to develop and pose a serious threat to life and property.

Community Fire Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Jackie Boyle, said:

“While the weather is cold and wet, it’s natural that more people are using their tumble dryers to dry their laundry at the moment. However, people need to remember that these appliances contain powerful motors with fast moving parts that can get very hot. If they are not cleaned or properly maintained, fluff and lint can build up over time and catch fire.

“We’d advise people not to run electrical appliances like tumble dryers or washing machines while they are out or overnight while they are in bed. It is also really important to have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home. A working smoke alarm will give you that vital early warning to a developing fire.”

Safety Advice:

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your appliance
  • Regularly clean the fluff or lint filter
  • Don’t run your appliance overnight or while you are out
  • Don’t overload your appliance
  • Have your appliance serviced by a qualified engineer
  • Keep your tumble dryer well ventilated ensuring the vent pipe is not blocked or crushed

People working together to make Littlehampton District a safe place to live and work