Cautionary fire tales

December 4, 2015 6:01 am

There have been some alarming news stories recently about how fires can start which are certainly worth sharing.

Firstly, there has been a safety warning issued about Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit tumble dryers: some of them pose a ‘significant fire risk’. I’ve got a Hotpoint washer dryer so I’ve followed the instructions for checking if my machine is affected and luckily it’s not. You can find out if yours is affected by visiting

As a result of this, some very useful safety advice has been issued about using tumble dryers. This is particularly important in the winter months when there’s less chance to hang washing outside. In brief: don’t leave your machine on overnight or when you go out, and make sure you remove any lint that’s built up inside the machine – do this after every use.

Secondly, there was another incidence of something we’ve warned about before. A woman in Greater Manchester saw a recipe online for making cheese on toast by using her toaster turned on its side. Of course, this led to a fire – and luckily she was able to get out before the fire really took hold. It took firefighters twenty minutes to put out the blaze. Photos of the damage have been posted online. Don’t do it.

And finally: this is a really bizarre tale. Thames Valley Fire Service were called to a flat because a smoke alarm had been activated. When they entered the property they found a small fire in the kitchen, but the only occupant was a dog (who was unharmed).

Further investigations showed that the most likely cause was when the dog tried to get hold of some treats which had been left on top of the cooker. In doing so it had turned on one of the hobs, and the treats started to smoulder. It was very fortunate that a neighbour heard the alarm otherwise it could have been catastrophic. The fire service has issued two bits of advice: make sure your smoke alarm is working, and never leave anything close to heat sources such as hobs.