A kitchen fire was caused by a faulty integrated dishwasher. The dishwasher had not been in use for a period of time, however the appliance was still connected to a live power supply.
Investigations indicated that there was an electrical fault inside the circuitry of the appliance that had led to overheating and the subsequent fire.
A visitor to the house had noticed a strange noise coming from the kitchen on the previous two days before the fire occurred.
Fortunately, the smoke alarm woke the occupier who found the kitchen full of black smoke. The early detection of the fire allowed the occupier to escape uninjured to call East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service which meant that the fire and smoke damage was confined to the kitchen.
We recommend switching off appliances when not in use. Even when not in use, energised electrical appliances can still cause a fire. Where possible, switch off appliances and close doors as part of your regular bedtime routine.
Most electrical fires are not spontaneous. Clues are there that something is wrong - you just need to know what to look out for.
Plugs and sockets that feel hot to the touch are dangerous and need to be checked. Ensure your electrical plugs have the correct fuse for the appliance. Items such as mobile phone chargers may get warm when in use, but should not get too hot to hold.
Plugging several appliances into one socket can cause overload, which can lead to a fire.
Prevention is always better than cure, so check all your appliances regularly and have them repaired or replaced if they show any signs of damage or a fault. If you are unsure of the safety of any electrical items in your home, get professional advice. A visit from a qualified electrician will give you peace of mind, and whatever it costs, it will always be cheaper than losing your home - or your life.
Consider upgrading your consumer unit (fuse box) to one that includes residual current devices (RCD). An RCD is a life saving device which is designed to prevent you getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire or faulty electrical equipment - a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers can't provide.
They also provide a measure of protection against electrical fires. RCDs are best located in consumer units, but are also available in the form of standalone plug-in devices, for use with electric lawn mowers and hedge trimmers, for example.
For further advice on electrical safety, visit Electrical Safety First's website.
Lastly, ensure your property has working smoke alarms. A smoke alarm will give you an early indication that there is a fire giving you precious additional seconds to get to safety.
Remember that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service can carry out free Home Safety Visits on eligible homes.
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.
Latest Update : 19 October 2017