Firefighter issues safety warning after lucky escape

Simon CookA firefighter from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is reminding people to make sure they switch off all electrical items which do not need to be left on continuously after suffering a near-miss himself.

The warning comes from Firefighter Simon Cook, who works for the AF&RS Community Safety Team in North Somerset, after his dishwasher caught fire.

Simon, who lives in Nailsea, said: “After an evening meal we loaded the dishwasher afterwards at about 10pm.

“At AF&RS we always advise people to switch off electrical items which don’t need to be on continuously, especially overnight. Thankfully, l left it until the following morning to switch the dishwasher on.

“Within a couple of minutes the dishwasher started making a strange noise and soon smoke started to fill the kitchen. I quickly switched the appliance off and pulled it out from under the worktop. Fortunately the fire went out and a neighbour helped me carry it outside. It has since been looked at by an engineer, who said there was a fault with the motor.

“However, this incident proves why it is so important not to put appliances like dishwashers and washing machines on overnight as they could catch fire.”

Since 2006 AF&RS has attended 370 accidental house fires where the cause has been a fault with an electrical appliance. In 120 cases tumble driers were involved, in 116 fires it was a washing machine at fault, 77 fires were caused by faulty dishwashers, 39 cases involved fridge/freezers and 18 fires were caused by problems with washer-driers.

Simon said: “Part of my role at AF&RS is to highlight fire safety messages to the community. Following my lucky escape I would like to remind people to always switch off electrical items which don’t need to be left on overnight, never leave dishwashers and other electrical appliances on when you go out and to ensure all electrical appliances are maintained properly and regularly.

“I would also urge people to make sure they have a working smoke alarm fitted on every level of their property and to check the batteries are working at least once a week. A working smoke alarm will alert you and your family in the event of a fire and give you time to escape the property, especially at night.”

Fortunately for Simon and his family, no one was hurt and there was no damage to the kitchen.