Resident praises firefighters after faulty body dryer causes house blaze

The photograph shows some of the fire damage after the recent Whitley Bay house fire

A relieved resident has praised firefighters for tackling a blaze at her property – caused by the overheating of a faulty bathroom body dryer.

Anne-Marie has today released photographs showing how the fire had destroyed areas of her home in a bid to raise awareness of the potential dangers of drying devices.

The full length body dryer was purchased as an essential piece of equipment to provide Anne-Marie’s husband with more independence.

But in May the 64-year-old was left devastated after the device overheated and set her Whitley Bay home on fire.

She dialled 999 and two appliances from Tynemouth Community Fire Station were immediately deployed and on scene in just five-minutes.

They were able to quickly extinguish the fire and established that everyone was safely out of the building.

Firefighters established the faulty dryer had caused the blaze now Anne-Marie says she wants others to learn from her misfortune.

“The firefighters were fabulous. They attended my house within five-minutes of my call,” said Anne-Marie.

“They couldn’t have done anymore. The crews were very respectful and considerate of myself and my property.

“The firefighters were very brave. They entered the room containing thick black smoke.

“It could’ve been really nasty. I could have easily died in the fire.  I can’t praise them highly enough.”

Anne-Marie concluded: “I just wanted to share my story and experience to make other people aware of the potential dangers of these body dryers.  I didn’t think that an electrical heater could do so much damage.

“I’m now going to put smoke alarms in every room as a precautionary measure. This has been a real eye-opener.”

The crew were in attendance of the fire at Anne-Marie’s property for 14-minutes as they successfully extinguished the blaze.

Steven Thomas, Group Manager, Prevention and Education at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“The Service appreciates Anne-Marie’s kind words.  Even without realising it the resident actually made a major contribution to fighting the fire.

“When our crews attended the scene the interior doors to the property were closed, which helped to contain the fire.

“In the case of electrical items, if you are ever concerned or uncertain about the safety of a particular product, always unplug the item, report the issue to the manufacturer and wait for its repair before reusing.

“Always buy from a reputable company and read reviews of the product and seller where applicable.”

Group Manager Thomas added: “Always ensure that you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, and a heat detector in the kitchen.  We advise that all alarms should be tested at least once a month.”

Here are a few safety pointers to consider:

  • Draw up a ‘fire escape plan’ in case you need to exit your home at a moment’s notice
  • Close doors before you go to bed as this can reduce the rapid spread of fire, smoke and heat
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and dial 999…never tackle fires yourself!
  • Never go back in to the property to rescue family members, pets or keepsakes

The Fire Service can fit smoke alarms free of charge as part of our ‘Safe and Well’ home visits.

You can arrange for us to visit you through our website or by calling our Freephone number 0800 032 7777.