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Fire possibly caused by a fault in a mobility scooter

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Fire damaged mobility scooter

Fire damaged mobility scooter

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Fire damaged mobility scooter

Fire damaged mobility scooter

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Fire damage at the entrance

Fire damage at the entrance

How this fire happened

The investigation into the cause of this fire was not conclusive however; it was thought most likely to have been accidental due to an electrical fault within the scooter.

This fire occurred in a flat within a purpose built block in the early hours of the morning.

The elderly disabled occupants of the property, who were asleep at the time of the fire, were awoken by their smoke detector sounding.

The mobility scooter was situated by the front entrance door to the flat, which was also the only means of escape.

The scooter was not plugged in to the mains electrical supply for charging at the time of the fire.

The occupants described how the fire rapidly developed and that shortly after they escaped the flat, it was completely full of thick toxic smoke.

Due to the materials used in mobility scooters - if they are involved in fire they will burn rapidly and emit large amounts of thick black toxic smoke.

Subsequent investigations by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service found that there had been a number of similar cases around the country involving fires in mobility scooters. 

The effect it had

Thank heavens we had just had a new smoke alarm fitted, and it was in good working order. I was going to get a fire extinguisher, but never got round to it. I wish I had, as it might have helped.

We were both so lucky, that my wife heard the alarm going off, as we might not have woken up at all.

We had nowhere to keep my scooter other than by the front door. I have had the scooter for about four years with no problems, I charge it up and then I unplug it, ready to go out on.

I would not like this to happen to someone else, as it was a very bad experience!

Safety message

Mobility scooters contain both a potential source of ignition (electrical energy from a battery) and combustible materials from the body of the vehicle. This completes two elements from the "Fire Triangle" needed for a fire to develop. The third element is oxygen, which will generally be freely available in the surrounding atmosphere.

It is accepted that the occurrence of fires involving mobility scooters is relatively low, however when they do occur, they create a very high fire load that can produce significant heat and toxic products of combustion very quickly.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would advise that if possible, scooters are kept outside of occupied buildings. Where they have to be kept within buildings a suitable assessment of the risks should be carried out and appropriate control measures considered.

If the building is subject to the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 - then this risk assessment is the responsibility of the "Responsible Person".

Further information on legislative requirements is avialable in our Business Safety section.

Finally - always ensure that you have sufficient properly sited working smoke alarms and know what you will do in case of a fire in your home.

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.

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Latest Update :
03 February 2015
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