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Halogen Heater Blamed For Fatal Caravan Fire

Caravan Fire

2:10pm 15th August 2013

An inquest has recorded a verdict of accidental death after a woman died in a caravan fire in Weymouth.

It's believed the fire that killed Vikki Syme in January was started when clothes were left near a halogen heater.

By the time crews arrived at Ryemead Lane she had already died.

Fire Investigation Officer Steve Underhill said: "This is a really tragic incident that has had the worst possible outcome. We believe the fire started after a halogen heater was left near flammable materials, in this case clothes. These clothes ignited and quickly caused the entire caravan to be involved in fire.

He added: "Avon Fire and Rescue Service have seen three deaths with a similar cause in the last 18 months. I strongly urge anyone using a halogen heater to think about what is around the heater and make sure any clothes or other flammable materials are at least one metre away. Also make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions which will include a safety briefing."

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service offer FREE Home Safety Checks to Dorset residents. These involve members of DFRS staff visiting your home and offering you bespoke home safety advice including the use of heaters, candles, electrics, cooking and much much more. Members of staff will also fit free smoke detectors if appropriate.

Safety Tips For Using Halogen Heaters:

  • Do not cover the heater or obstruct the grilles.
  • Young children vulnerable people should not use the heater without supervision.
  • Heaters are not intended for use in bathrooms, laundry areas or similar indoor locations.
  • Never place a heater where it may fall into a bathtub or other water container.
  • Avoid placing heaters on carpets having a very deep pile.
  • Always ensure that the heater is placed on a firm level surface. Ensure that the heater is not positioned close to curtains, furniture or combustible materials as this could create a fire hazard.
  • Do not insert objects into any opening on a heater as this could cause electric shock or overheating.
  • Do not use a heater in areas where flammable liquids are stored or where flammable fumes may be present e.g. in confined spaces
  • Always unplug a heater when not in use or when moving it from one location to another.
  • Do not use or leave a heater running when it is un-attended.
  • If you believe a heater is damaged or faulty a qualified service engineer should repair it.
  • Do not use a heater if the power cord is damaged. The power cord should be replaced by a qualified person.

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