Case reference - BM12
This fire was caused when gas escaped from a camping gas cylinder whilst it was being changed by the light of a candle.
A power cut had occurred in the area and a householder was using candles to see by.
He had then decided to use a lamp that was powered by a disposable camping gas type cylinder. When the gas ran low he decided to change it and was using a candle to see by. This was being done on a worktop in his utility room.
During the process of changing the cylinder escaping gas caught fire, which eventually caused the cylinder to explode.
Unfortunately the owner was burned and had to be treated in hospital overnight.
The fire caused serious damage as it spread into the roof and adjoining carport before the arrival of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service who fought hard to prevent any further damage.
With internal doors being left open there was also serious smoke damage to other rooms in the house that were otherwise unaffected by direct burning.
Fortunately nowadays power cuts are rare – however clearly they do still happen!
Naked flames will always be potentially dangerous and it would be sensible to have a good torch handy in case of a power cut.
Also, it is now possible to buy good lamps that are powered by battery, which would be much safer (outdoor and camping shops would have a good selection).
Shutting internal doors should be something that you do not only as part of a bedtime routine – but also whenever you leave your home unattended, as even a light internal door will prevent smoke and heat from damaging rooms and contents remote from the source of a fire.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free smoke alarms and home fire safety visits to eligible homes across East Sussex and the City of Brighton & Hove.
If you would like further information or advice on either a domestic or commercial safety matter or would like to request a free Home Safety Check, please contact the Community Safety Team free of charge on 0800 1777069.
You can also make a request online by completing our online Home Safety Request Form
Finally, we would be interested to hear from you if you have had a similar experience to the fire detailed above, or would like to raise any related matters or even just generally comment on how useful you found our Black Museum. Please send us your details and a comments via our on-line feedback form.