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Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service issues fire safety warning after laptop fire

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has issued a fire safety warning urging people not to leave electrical devices on soft furnishings like beds or sofas.

The warning comes after an incident involving a fire in a home that was caused by an overheating tablet that had been left on a bed.

On Saturday 27 July, two fire engines from Egremont and Seascale attended a commercial building fire on Wasdale Road in Gosforth, near Seascale. The fire involved a bed and a mattress which caught light due to a tablet that had been left on charge under the mattress.

The burnt mattress

Edward Burrows, Community Safety Manager for Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service, said: “This fire was caused by an overheating laptop that was left on a bed. Fortunately no one was injured in this incident but the fire caused significant damage to the property.

“We would take this opportunity to warn the public and residents of Cumbria that they should not leave electrical devices on soft furnishings like beds or sofas. Laptops, phones and tablets contain Lithium batteries that get very hot and can build up heat – potentially causing a fire.

“Laptops specifically have air vents underneath the computer that are designed to allow the device to cool – if you have ever used a laptop on your lap you may have felt the build-up of heat as clothing stops this ventilation.”

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service recommends that users of laptops and tablets and phones should:

  • Always use your laptop on a hard, flat surface like a table. NEVER on a bed, carpets or cushion.
  • Never leave items charging on soft materials.
  • Never block the air vents on the back or sides of a portable computer.
  • Occasionally inspect the laptop’s air vents to remove dust or debris blocking the ventilation.
  • Never use a laptop power cord, phone charger or extension cord that is damaged as it can start a fire.
  • Turn off devices when not in use and avoid leaving them unattended when switched on.
  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors on each level of your property.

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