Electrical extension coil likely cause of Halwill fire

Blaze thought to have started with led connected to ground floor tumble drier, say fire service

AN electrical extension lead was the likely cause of a fire which destroyed a family home at Halwill Junction, the fire service has said.

Two people escaped from the house at the village near Beaworthy during the blaze just after 11pm on Sunday night and were treated for smoke inhalation and taken to hospital.

Fire crews from Holsworthy, Hatherleigh and Okehampton as well as support from Ilfracombe and the Barnstaple water bowser were called in to tackle the blaze, thought to have started on the ground floor annex of the semi-detached property and quickly spreading.

The fire service has said a tumble drier was in use at the time and plugged into a coiled extension lead, thought to be the cause of the blaze.

The occupier was alerted to the fire when his computer switched off and he smelled smoke.

“In such circumstances it is known that extension reels, when tightly wound and supplying heavy current-drawing electrical appliances such as a tumble drier, can generate sufficient heat, which can result in ignition,” said fire investigation manager Andy Justice.

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“It is believed that on this occasion the extension reel was responsible for causing this unfortunate fire. Householders are reminded that when using electrical extension reels they follow manufacturer’s instructions, whereby the extension reel is fully unwound and in free air when in use.”

The fire service said while everything pointed to the electrical lead, it was not possible to rule out the fire had started within the tumble drier itself.

It advised that domestic tumble driers should be regularly inspected and that any lint removed from the drier’s filter following use.

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