Fire started by laptop being charged

    An investigation has established that a fire at a school leisure centre cafe in Bletchley yesterday afternoon started while a laptop was being charged on a table.

    Crews from Broughton, Leighton Buzzard and Aylesbury were called to the Sir Herbert Leon Academy in Fern Grove at 3.47pm. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reels to put out the fire and a fan to clear the smoke.

    Group Commander Richard Priest from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: "At the time of the call, the school was closed and there were no children or members of the public in the affected part of the premises.

    "The cafe is part of a leisure centre which adjoins the school, and this will not impact on the school itself while repairs are undertaken."

    Richard is urging people to be aware of the possible risks associated with charging laptops and other electrical equipment and offered the following advice:

    • Never charge electrical items on surfaces such as bedding or furniture, and do not leave them unattended.
    • An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take, so be careful not to overload them. Try to keep to one plug per socket. Use Electrical Safety First’s online socket overload calculator to make sure that you are not overloading the sockets in your home.
    • Check that your electrical products have not been recalled. In the last six years, more than 250 recall notices have been issued for electrical products, mostly due to a risk of electric shock or fire. Use Electrical Safety First’s online product recall checker to make sure the appliances in your home are safe.
    • Buy your chargers from a reputable source. Many imported chargers do not satisfy UK safety regulations and can cause serious injury or fire.
    • Carry out a visual check in your home to ensure your safety and reduce the risk of electrical fires. It is often the simple things that you could check that lead to a serious fire – such as an appliance lead near a hot surface or an overloaded socket.
    • Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order. Look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights, and this will help prevent appliances triggering a fire.
    • Regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires. Check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you use an appliance.
    • Switch off appliances at the socket when not in use. This helps toreduce the risk of fire. Switch off appliances when you go to bed or when you go out unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers.
    • Carry out a visual check in your home to ensure your safety and reduce the risk of electrical fires. It is often the simple things that you could check that lead to a serious fire – such as an appliance lead near a hot surface or an overloaded socket.
    • Never use water on an electrical fire. Don’t take any risks with your safety. Pull the plug out or switch the power off if it is safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.

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