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Warning issued after mobile phone house fire

     
Posted on Tuesday 17 January 2017
Phone Fire

Above: damage caused by the overheating phone

Tyne and Wear Fire Service and Gateshead Council Trading Standards are issuing a joint warning to people to ensure they only use the proper chargers whenever they charge their phones.

Their warning follows a house fire in Blaydon which was caused by a mobile phone overheating and causing the surface it was placed on to catch fire after it was connected to an incompatible USB plug.

The phone had been left to charge in a bedroom, but within 20 minutes of the phone being connected to the charger the householder smelt smoke. When they opened the bedroom door to investigate they were confronted with a fire.

Tyne and Wear Fire Service attended the property in Blaydon on 30 December 2016. There were no injuries.

The burnt phone and charger were sent to Gateshead Council’s testing laboratory where it was established that the phone and charger were incompatible and that this caused the phone to overheat. The problem was then further compounded by the fact the phone was resting on a surface which melted when it became hot and then caught fire.  

Anneliese Hutchinson, Service Director, Development and Public Protection said “The serious nature of this incident shows how important it is to use the right charger for the device you are charging.

“Different devices draw different amounts of current and if the charger or USB plug used is not the one supplied with the device then people need to check that they are compatible.

“Had the homeowner left the device plugged in overnight, the consequences of this fire could have been much worse”.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fortunately no-one was injured during this incident, but as more and more cheap and untested electrical items become available, so the chance of fire increases.

“Our advice is to always check products have markings indicating they have passed British safety standards and don't be tempted to buy fake goods advertised as being compatible with devices. What may seem like a good deal at the time could cost you a lot more in the long run.

“I would also encourage everyone to fit smoke alarms on every level of their property and to test them monthly. We also recommend that everyone has a fire escape plan and knows what to do in the event of a fire.”

Trading Standards Officers and Fire Officers are urging the public to make sure that their phone chargers, plugs and cables are compatible with the phone or other electronic device they are charging.