Warning after electrical charger mix up
Trading Standards officers from North East Lincolnshire Council are warning people only to use electrical chargers with the product they were designed for and bought with.
The warning follows a house fire in Grimsby last month that started after a five volt USB charger was left charging a 4.2 volt electronic cigarette.
Officers believe the fire was caused because a different charger was used, rather than the charger the e-cigarette was bought with.
Neil Clark, Community Protection Manager responsible for Trading Standards, said: “It might surprise some people to learn that seemingly harmless, low voltage USB chargers can start a house fire.
“In this case the homeowner had bought two different makes of e-cigarette and each came with its own USB charger.
“He did not realise the two chargers had different voltages and left the room while the e-cigarette was left connected to the wrong charger.
“When the charger ignited it set fire to an armchair and carpet and the man burnt his hand trying to extinguish the flames.
“Luckily he had a working smoke alarm fitted, otherwise it could have been much worse.”
Cllr Hazel Chase, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities, said: “The advice from our officers is to only use electrical charging devices with the products for which they were intended.
“Mixing and matching different voltages, even with low voltage devices, could result in damage to your home or a serious injury.”
A spokeperson from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said: “I cannot stress enough the dangers mixing up electrical chargers pose, it’s simply not worth the risk.
"Electrical fires in the home can have devastating effects. This fire could have been much worse had the occupier not been alerted to the fire by the smoke alarm.
"Smoke alarms really can save lives as they give an early warning should a fire break out, I urge all home owners to ensure they have working smoke alarms and test them weekly."
Trading Standards can be contacted for advice on consumer matters through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or online at www.adviceguide.org.uk.
Communications and Marketing
North East Lincolnshire Council
Town Hall Square
Grimsby DN31 1HU
T: 01472 325968
DATE: 17 September 2013