Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Be careful with patio heaters

Make sure you take care with patio heaters , that is the advice from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service following an horrific explosion which left four people seriously burned.

Crews were called Napier Close, Basildon at 8:29pm on April 10 after a fuel container exploded as a group of eight people sat in a garden around a patio heater. The explosion injured one child and three adults, one of which was seriously burned.

Officers investigating the fire discovered that the explosion was caused by someone putting fuel in the heater while it was alight. The heater ignited the fuel in the container causing an explosion which sent molten plastic flying.

Assistant Divisional Officer Simon Dedman, who investigated the blaze, said: “There were eight people sitting around the heater and they noticed that the fire in the heater was dying down so decided to top it up with fuel.

“Instead of turning the heater off and making sure the flames were fully out, they re-filled the heater directly from a five litre container of bio-ethanol. The flames ignited the fuel vapour and burned back into the container making it explode.

“This incident highlights just how dangerous it is to add fuel to an already burning heater. Four people suffered serious injuries in this incident.

“The lesson to take from this is always make sure your heater is out before you add fuel, never risk topping it up while its burning, the results can be disastrous.”

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