Safety warning after e-cigarette van fire in Rotherham

The van which went up in flames
The van which went up in flames

Firefighters in Doncaster and the Dearne are warning about the dangers of e-cigarettes after a van was destroyed in a fire when one of the devices was left charging.

Fire chiefs have issued tips on safe charging on the day the first TV adverts for e-cigarettes go on air.

The Ford Transit was wrecked in a blaze on the driveway of a house in Rotherham on Friday morning.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said the e-cigarette had been left on charge in the vehicle on Brecks Lane, Herringthorpe, when it exploded and caused paper work to catch light.

Head of community safety for the service Kevin Ronan said: “Fires caused by e-cigarettes are an emerging trend which, two years ago, simply did not exist.

“Whilst e-cigs may offer a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, they are so popular now we do need to make sure people know how charge them safely.

“The advice for e-cigs is really the same as for many smaller electrical appliances like mobile phones and laptops - don’t be tempted to buy cheap unbranded chargers, don’t leave them to charge whilst you are out of the house or asleep and keep them well away from flammable materials.”

Mr Ronan said fire investigators think fires start because the e-cigarette is left to charge too long, they are charged too close to soft furnishings or because the charger itself is faulty.

His safety tips are:

• Charge the device on a flat, solid and stable surface, such as a kitchen work top;

• Keep the device away from flammable or combustible materials when charging;

• Never leave the device on a bed or close to soft furnishings, or in a cluttered space;

• Don’t exceed the recommended charging time, or leave unattended for any significant length of time - eg overnight while you’re asleep, or if you go out;

• Don’t buy cheap, unbranded chargers and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.