Exploding E-cigarette causes catastrophic damage to home and kills family pet
A couple are lucky to be alive after a charging E-cigarette exploded, leaving their house gutted and tragically killing their pet dog.
John Walters and Carole Poulson, from Stoke-On-Trent escaped the blaze by climbing out of a bedroom window, after an off duty fireman saw the fire from his home nearby.
Tragically, the couple’s pet whippet Sooey was killed after inhaling the toxic fumes- despite John running back into the burning building to save the dog.
The fire was believed to have been started after the E-cigarette battery exploded, and it had been attached directly to the mains plug, charging overnight.
John, 58, said: “I would urge people never to leave E-cigarettes on charge overnight – the damage caused to our house is absolutely catastrophic. I would also say make sure people have an escape route planned. We are still very shaken by our experience and don’t want other people to go through a similar incident – we feel very lucky to be alive.”
Investigations discovered that there was no cable containing a fuse to link the two components and which would have acted as a safety device and cut off the electrical current when the battery overheated.
The couple who didn’t have any working smoke alarms in the house, were asleep when the fire broke out yesterday morning (FRI) but they heard a loud bang in the night, which set off the security alarms.
John said: “It was all a bit of a surreal experience. We were woken up by the security alarm going off and my partner thought that we were being burgled. I went to investigate but as soon as I opened the bedroom door, I was hit by the intense heat from the fire, which was at the foot of the stairs.
“We were lucky that the windows in the bedroom are large so when the part-time firefighter who lives across the road came with the ladder, we were able to climb out quite easily. I dread to think what would have happened if the windows were small and didn’t open very far, we would have been trapped. ”
John ran back into the burning property to rescue Sooey, and even though she was still alive when rescued her, she tragically later passed away.
John said: “It was heart-breaking to lose Sooey. Carole has had her since she was a pup and she was one of the family. We are gutted.”
It took two crews from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue two hours to control the blaze and tragically the family pet could not be saved.
John and Carole were taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
Group Manager Brian Griffiths said: “This was a severe fire which caused a significant amount of damage to the house. The residents were asleep in bed when the blaze broke out and it is fair to say that they had an incredibly lucky escape.
“This incident is a stark warning to people never to leave E-cigarettes on charge for long periods over time, particularly overnight, and to always follow the manufacturers’ guidelines. It also highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home.”