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Fire warning on rechargeable batteries

Monday 19th February 2018, 2:58pm

A fire caused by an exploding rechargeable head torch battery, has led to warnings for vigilance from Glenmore Lodge, Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre.

The fire destroyed a first floor bedroom at the Centre and all possessions in the room.

Although the fire was contained, it has prompted Glenmore Lodge to urge everyone not to leave electronic items recharging unattended.

Shaun Roberts, Principal of the Training Centre, said: “Our student had left the head torch on charge in preparation for an overnight expedition the next day. We all understand the desire to have ‘full charge’ before heading out and few of us would think we need to monitor the device while it was charging. The head torch was left charging in an empty bedroom and during this time the batteries overheated, melting the compartment and exploding, spraying the internal contents of the battery three metres across the room onto a mattress, and created a blaze that destroyed the bedroom.”

The fire was contained thanks to the fire prevention design of the building, the efforts of the Fire Service and the quick response of staff, trained to respond to emergencies.

 Shaun added: “The battery looked like a spent shot gun cartridge. The head torch is not a make that any of us would recognise as our regular brands and the device was purchased online via the southern hemisphere. A good price for a powerful LED but also a health and safety lottery. We’ll be asking all guests staying at Glenmore Lodge never to leave a device charging unattended, and for us all to check out the CE certification printed on our personal devices – whether we use them at home or when we’re traveling. We are lucky that this occurred in a modern building, designed to cope, but what if this happened in your home or mountain hut?”

The following advice has been issued by the Fire Service to help keep people safe:

  • Never leave any device on charge unattended for long periods
  • Only use the charger supplied with the device
  • Ensure you purchase your gadget from a reputable source
  • Check the device carries CE certification
  • Test your smoke alarm regularly
  • Close doors to prevent fire spreading
  • Contact Trading Standards over any safety concerns