Warning issued after man seriously burned by vape that caught fire

Date published: 21 January 2021

Fire officers have issued a warning to always buy electrical products from reputable outlets and never to smoke in bed.

It comes after a 21-year-old man from Bury suffered serious burns when the vape he was holding as he slept overheated, melted onto his skin and set light to his duvet.

He suffered second degree burns to part of his face, scalp, ear, shoulder, arm and hand, as well as first degree burns to his torso.

The man woke up because of the heat and his parents raised the alarm before paramedics took him to Wythenshawe Hospital, which has a specialist burns unit. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The vape was being charged when it overheated, leaving behind just the battery pack after the rest of the unit melted and burned.

Paul Duggan, GMFRS head of prevention, said: “Faulty or substandard electrical equipment can lead to a significant risk of fire.

“We would urge people always to buy electrical products from a reputable and trusted dealer.

“The products they sell will meet the correct safety standards, whereas products bought cheaply online could pose a serious risk of fire or shock.

“We would also strongly urge people never to smoke in bed or when tired because of the risk of falling asleep and the smoking materials catching light to the bed, clothing or furniture.”

The additional warning follows Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service urging people to take extra care during the national lockdown.

More people are at home than normal, spending more time in the kitchen, running heaters and burning wood or coal fires. This is likely to lead to an increase in fires, GMFRS warns.

The spring national lockdown led to a rise in call-outs to fires caused by cooking and baking, as well as from rubbish burned in gardens.

Mr Duggan added: “We saw a significant increase in certain types of fire during the spring lockdown and we are concerned now that the same thing will happen again.

“We have already seen a number of fires where people have suffered burns, smoke inhalation and seen serious damage to their homes.

“Accidental fires can be devastating for the people affected and any one of them could have even more serious or tragic consequences.

“These types of fires can be easily prevented by taking extra care and by reminding ourselves of the simple things we can all do.”

Tips to stay safe

  • Keep electrical leads, cloths and tea towels away from the cooker, keep appliances away from water and never leave cooking unattended
  • Don’t burn rubbish in your garden. Household waste and recycling centres are open if you can’t store rubbish safely
  • When using open fires be sure to have the chimney swept, use a fire guard and ensure that ashes are cold before you put them in a bin
  • When using portable heaters be sure not to have them too close to curtains, furniture or your clothes and never use them for drying washing
  • Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your house and test the batteries regularly

More tips and information are available via the Manchester Fire website.

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