Kent Fire and Rescue Service is urging people who use e-cigarettes to make sure they follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to charging them. The warning comes following a house fire in the county over the weekend, which is believed to have been started by an e-cigarette that caught fire after it had been charged incorrectly.
On Sunday 7 December 2014, Terry Skinner of Alexandra Road in Sheerness placed his e-cigarette on charge using a charger not suited to the particular model. Within 10 minutes it is thought the internal battery exploded and subsequently set fire soft furnishings in the bedroom.
Terry Skinner said: “I’d put my kids to bed and put the e-cigarette on charge. About five minutes later I heard a bang, I just assumed it was our neighbours moving things about. I heard another bang so went upstairs and opened our bedroom door to find the blaze.”
KFRS Watch Manager, Andy Bridger-Smart said: “When we arrived we were faced with a fire well alight in the front bedroom. The fire caused 80% damage to the room; the rest of the upstairs has extensive smoke damage.”
Andy added: “This is extremely sad for the family, especially as young children are involved and so soon before Christmas. The devastating effects of fire in the home can be life changing. It is something that could happen to anyone if the wrong charger is used for an electrical device and the internal battery cannot handle a different voltage - it can catch fire.
Our advice is to please make sure you read and retain the instructions for all electrical devices and that you use the correct chargers in line with the manufacturer’s guidance. We would always recommend your property has smoke alarms installed and that they are regularly maintained and checked.
Recent national figures into e-cigarettes fires reveal there has been an increase over the last two years (source). In 2012, there were just eight emergency service call-outs to e-cigarette fires but the figure rose to 43 last year and there have been at least 62 so far in 2014 (as of Nov 2014), adding up to 113 in total. It is feared these figures could be a lot worse due to many incidents not being recorded.