'˜Exploding' e-cigarette causes flat fire
A woman had a lucky escape after her e-cigarette exploded, setting fire to her flat.
Firefighters were called to the flat on Green Lane Close in Arundel at 12.40am on Sunday after the occupier was woken by her smoke detector and called 999.
The fire is believed to have started when the e-cigarette, which had been purchased from a market stall without instructions or packaging, was left charging overnight.
The device subsequently overheated and exploded, scorching the wall and spraying hot fragments over soft furnishings in the flat.
Nobody was injured and the fire was out on arrival, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said.
The fire service has issued a warning and is urging people to only purchase e-cigarettes from reputable retailers.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service District Commander Lee Street, who oversees Arundel Fire Station, said: “The lady had a fortunate escape.
“When the charger exploded the hot components scattered across the room and scorched the lady’s soft furnishings.
“Thankfully, they didn’t fully ignite and the smoke detector did its job and alerted her to the danger.
“This isn’t an isolated incident.
“Our crews have attended fires involving e-cigarettes before.
“It’s really important to buy any electrical product from a reputable retailer.
“You may think you are getting a bargain by purchasing it from a market stall but whilst we all like a bargain taking a chance on these goods isn’t worth the risk.
“It could result in a house fire, a life-changing injury or worse.”
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices which simulate tobacco smoking and are becoming increasingly popular as smoking cessation aids.
District Commander Street added: “We know that many people use e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids.
“We certainly want to support people in their attempts to quit smoking.
“Our advice would be to contact your local stop smoking service for advice and support.”
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