Wheat bag catches fire in microwave

AN elderly lady from Crawley had to be led to safety by firefighters yesterday (Tuesday) after a wheat bag caught fire filling her home with acrid smoke.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to the mid terrace bungalow on Ifield Drive just before 4pm after the lady, in her 90s, accidentally overheated her wheatbag causing it to ignite inside the microwave.

Fortunately, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service had carried out a Home Fire Safety Check at the property and the lady was protected by a Careline System with a specialist ‘Firelink’ smoke alarm.

This meant that an operator at a 24-hour monitoring centre was automatically alerted to the fire and could place an immediate 999 call to the Fire Service.

A crew from Crawley arrived within four minutes and firefighters were able to bring the lady out to fresh air and safety and ventilate her home using a positive pressure ventilation fan.

The lady was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics and subsequently taken to hospital.

Wheat bags, heated in microwave ovens, are often used as an additional source of warmth and therapeutic pain relief, but if not used correctly, they can pose a real fire hazard.