Bioethanol burner blaze leaves man with burns

The damage cause in the bioethanol fire in Worthing D14492684a
The damage cause in the bioethanol fire in Worthing D14492684a

A FIRE in Southwick has prompted a warning from firefighters about bioethanol burners.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service wants to highlight the dangers of the new style of heating, having attended two 999 incidents in as many months.

Shoreham firefighters were called to a house in Holmbush Way last Saturday evening after a bioethanol fuel bottle exploded, injuring a man and setting fire to the carpet and timber floor.

The man had to be taken to Worthing Hospital by ambulance with a burn injury.

The fire followed an incident in December at a house in Worthing, where a bioethanol burner bought from eBay caused a fire which left the carpet burned and the chimney breast blackened.

Fire safety officer Paul Wykes said: “Bioethanol fuel, whether in liquid or gel form, is highly flammable and can burn without a visible flame, so should be treated with extreme caution both when using and storing it.

“The occupier in Southwick had attempted to re-fill the fire, not realising it was still alight, resulting in burns to his hands and feet, which required hospital treatment.

“We would urge people not to fill the burners with fuel when they are switched on.

“Bioethanol burners and fires are relatively new products so there are currently no European safety standards governing their safety, quality and function. For anyone considering purchasing one, we would advise people to buy only from reputable retailers and ensure they follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.”

Bioethanol flame-effect fires have become increasingly popular as they offer the visual attraction of flames like a real fire but do not require a flue or chimney.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue advice for the use of bioethanol burners:

– Beware of cheap, substandard products

– Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions carefully

– Bioethanol fuel is highly flammable and should be kept in approved containers that are tightly closed and away from any ignition sources

– Remember that the flame can be almost invisible especially when the fuel becomes low

– Never add fuel to a burning fire refuel using approved small containers only once the fire has been extinguished and is cold

– Keep children and pets away from fireboxes and fuel

– Extinguish all fires when leaving a room or before going to sleep

– Regularly clean and check the fuel container for damage and never use if it is leaking

– Wipe up any spillages before igniting the bioethanol. Keep fuel away from clothes. Don’t refuel when under the influence of alcohol

– Always light Bio Ethanol fuel with an extended lighter or extra-long match – never discard matches into the container.

For further home fire safety advice visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire