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Heat Pad sets duvet on fire in family home

21 January 2019

DEVON & SOMERSET Fire & Rescue Service has issued a plea for residents to install smoke alarms in rooms where people sleep, including rooms converted for that use.

The appeal follows a fire that took place last November within a house at a remote location near Taunton. The fire started in a downstairs room where a woman slept due to her deteriorating mobility.

The fire started in a heat pad in the bed and the family were lucky to escape as there were no smoke alarms in that room.

The woman's daughter, who also lives in the house with her family, told Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, "The fire started in a heat pad that we'd put under the bed clothes to keep mum's feet warm at night.

"The first thing we heard was mum calling for help. Luckily she had been already awake when the duvet started to smoke and she'd got to the bedroom door and called for help.

"By the time I reached her, I could see the flames from the duvet were half way up the wall. It was terrifying. We closed the bedroom door, got out of the house and called 999 for the fire service.

"We were so lucky that mum noticed it smoking because there was not a smoke alarm in the bedroom and I dread to think what would have happened if she'd been asleep."

Taunton station manager, Jo Webber, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said, "This lucky escape shows us how important it is to have a smoke alarm in your bedroom, particularly for children, people with disabilities and the elderly. There are so many items of electrical equipment used in people's bedrooms these days that we have had to update our advice. Please put a smoke alarm in any bedroom, even if it's a room that used to be used for another purpose, but is now used for sleeping, like this family's bedroom for their mum.

"This is particularly important if there are electrical heaters or chargers left switched on overnight, but of course we would really recommend leaving as many things as you can switched off while you're sleeping.  You should check your smoke alarms at least every month. This includes the ones in the bedrooms as well as the smoke alarms you should have in your hallway and landing."

Always check your electric blankets, heat pads and any other electrical devices for signs of scorching or burning smells. If you're worried stop using them and get them checked by an electrician or replace them.

Jo concluded, "Please practice your escape plan, then if the worst does happen, you will know what to do like this family did; closing the door stopped the fire spreading and everyone was ok."