Elderly Portsmouth couple rescued after electric blanket sparks blaze

Firefighters helped to rescue and elderly couple from Porchester
Firefighters helped to rescue and elderly couple from Porchester
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AN ELDERLY couple was rescued by firefighters this morning after a faulty electric blanket sparked a blaze at their home in Porchester.

The incident took place in Hill Road, at about 1.43am.

Fire crews from Porchester and Cosham rushed to the scene and helped evacuate the couple, who were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Watch manager Martin Earl was on the scene and said: ‘The couple were fairly calm.

‘When the blanket started to smoke the man put it into the bathroom and shut the door.

‘Although it was quite contained there was a lot of smoke coming from the windows and inside the bathroom.’

He said firefighters took the couple out from the building, into the street and gave them oxygen to counter the smoke inhalation. Paramedics soon arrived to assist.

Crews then began to tackle the fire.

Equipped with two breathing apparatus, firefighters used a high-pressure hose reel to quell the blaze.

Then they used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the smoke from the property.

Watch manager Earl added: ‘The electric blanket had been left half folded up.

‘When you get especially old electric blankets you should never fold them because the elements inside can break and cause a fire.’

With the cold weather now coming in, watch manager Earl is now urging people to double-check their electric blankets before using them.

‘The consequences can be bad,’ he added.

‘Because it’s textile if that was on top of a mattress or bedding and had ignited then straight away you can get a fire that takes hold really quickly.’

He is urging all those with electric blankets to have them tested – or to simply make sure they use modern devices, not aging ones.

Danger signs:

* It displays the old BEAB safety mark – a round symbol – this will be over 10 years old and will not comply with the latest safety standard

* The fabric is worn or frayed

* The blanket has scorch marks anywhere

* The tie tapes are damaged or missing

* The flex is worn or damaged

* Any connections are loose

For more safety advice, see Hampshire Fire and Rescue’s website, here.