West Sussex firefighters warn of e-cigarette dangers

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters from West Sussex are highlighting the dangers of e-cigarettes during national No Smoking Day today (Wednesday March 12).

An investigation into a fire at a residential care home in Chichester last month revealed it was caused by the battery pack of an electronic cigarette.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s investigation identified the e-cigarette’s battery pack had ruptured and projected heated battery components across the room igniting nearby bedding.

Although no one was injured, the fire caused significant heat and smoke damage to the bedroom.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices which simulate tobacco smoking and are increasingly being used as aids to give up smoking.

There are an estimated 1.3 million e-cigarette users in the UK.

Mark Hayter, fire investigation officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This fire was not an isolated incident; other fire services have reported similar instances including a fatal fire in Derbyshire.

“Smoking is still the biggest cause of fatalities in accidental house fires and we applaud anyone taking steps to cut down or give up. However, we would urge anyone using e-cigarettes to take particular care when charging them.

“E-cigarettes are no substitute for quitting smoking altogether. There are a huge number of sources of support for anyone who wants help to give up smoking.”