Date: 20th April, 2016
A remote controlled car left to charge overnight is believed to have been the cause of a fire that devastated a house in Melksham on 15 April.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the mid-terraced property in Hurricane Road, Bowerhill at 2.03am and found a well-developed fire that had started in a rear conservatory.
Four fire crews – one from Melksham, two from Trowbridge and one from Devizes – tackled the blaze, which affected both floors and the roof of the house. Four breathing apparatus wearers and four hose reel jets were used, together with the aerial appliance from Swindon.
The occupants of the house were woken by the sound of the fire and escaped without injury. They were supported through the morning by volunteers from the British Red Cross emergency response team based at Swindon fire station.
A fire investigation concluded that the fire started accidentally, with the most likely cause being the battery-powered car left on charge.
Station Manager Jack Nicholson said: “The issue could have been electrical or a battery fault; either way, we would always advise that any item fitted with a rechargeable battery should never be left to charge overnight. Fortunately, the occupier of the house was woken by the sound of the fire just before the smoke alarms sounded, and was able to escape uninjured. Had he not woken up so quickly, the consequences could have been appalling.”
He added: “Unless an electrical item is designed to be left on unattended – such as a fridge or freezer – it should always be switched off at night. In addition, we advise that all homes should be fitted with working smoke alarms, and these should be tested regularly.”
For more advice on staying safe at home, visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safety-at-home