A barbecue of nightmares

Firefighters have issued safety warnings after a spate of barbecue fires over the bank holiday weekend. During an almost unprecedented few days of wall-to-wall sunshine many householders and caterers decided to dust off the barbecue for the first time in 2018. But as the burgers sizzled and the beers were downed there were a few incidents in the UK that were the stuff of nightmares.

In Manchester a house was gutted when the barbecue was left to smoulder out of sight. Melting a plastic gazebo, then a garden sofa, the fire spread to destroy UPVC patio doors, the out of control blaze then shot up the stairs and ended up in the loft. The residents, shocked at how quickly the fire had spread, tried in vain to quell it with buckets of water. Firefighters were finally called out and they did their best to minimise damage, but it was too late, and the house was gutted. Luckily no one was hurt.

In Cornwall, residents and holidaymakers were put at risk by multiple bin and skip fires over the weekend. Firefighters were called to several fires in Cornwall including New Polzeath, Par Beach and Fowey. It appeared that the fires had started when smouldering barbecues were discarded in bins or skips. The risk of a fire in a skip full of rubbish is obvious as if a match were to ignite it but throwing a still smouldering barbecue in a bin would have the same effect, melting the plastic container and burning into any rubbish already in the bin creating a large bonfire as a result.

Always be aware of your surroundings when using a barbecue and keep it away from anything flammable. A lit barbecue should never be left unattended. Any hot ash can be a smouldering fire even though no flame is apparent. Never take a barbecue indoors or in a tent. After the cooking is over a barbecue must be extinguished fully until cold, it is best to dispose a single-use barbecue the following day when you can check it is fully out.

For all your fire safety needs including fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire risk assessments and fire alarms contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

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