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Fire caused by a faulty cut-out fuse

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Cupboard door situated on the escape route from the flat, which was shut at the time of the fire and kept back the flames, heat and most of the smoke.

Cupboard door situated on the escape route from the flat, which was shut at the time of the fire and kept back the flames, heat and most of the smoke.

faultyCutOutFuse_pic2.jpg

Damage to inside of the cupboard, showing the fire beginning to involve household contents stored on shelving near to the electrical intake.

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Damage to electrical intake caused by a fault with the service cut out fuse.

Damage to electrical intake caused by a fault with the service cut out fuse.

 

How this fire happened

This fire was caused by a fault within the electrical supply cut out fuse, which created sufficient heat to set light to its backing board and surrounding combustible items.

The incoming electrical supply was in a cupboard situated in the entrance hall to a flat.

This cupboard also contained combustible household items, which were stored in close proximity to the electrical equipment.

The fire occurred in the early morning, when the single occupant of the flat was asleep and because of the type of materials that were burning, it quickly created a large amount of thick toxic smoke.

Fortunately the cupboard door was shut - which held back the flames and heat and only allowed a limited amount of smoke to escape.

The flat was fitted with a working smoke detector, which quickly woke the occupant, who was subsequently able to escape and call East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

 

The effect it had

Safety message

Every year, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attends a number of fires caused by electrical faults in the area of the electrical intake to a property.

For any fire to start it needs three things:

  • Fuel
  • Oxygen (air)
  • Heat

This is commonly known as the "Triangle of Fire".

You can greatly reduce the potential for an electrical fault to cause a fire to develop, by ensuring that you do not store combustible material (fuel) in close proximity to electrical equipment.

You can also limit a fire's available oxygen, by keeping doors to cupboards housing electrical equipment shut. Shutting doors will also hold back flame, heat and some smoke.

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.

The condition of your electrical installation should be checked by a competent person at least every 10 years.

Advice on how to arrange for your installation to be checked is available from Electrical Safety First.

Smoke alarms do save lives - as this case clearly shows. Please ensure that you have sufficient, properly sited and working smoke alarms.

 

Further information

Do you have a similar story?

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.

Acknowledgement

Survey

Mandatory field

Black Museum Survey
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Latest Update :
30 January 2015
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