Alert over danger of wheat bags after Angmering blaze


FIREFIGHTERS have issued an alert over the use of microwavable wheat bags following a blaze in Angmering, yesterday (Wednesday, February 26).

Crews from Littlehampton and Worthing were alerted to an incident at a home in Beech Way, at about 5.33pm.

The smoke alarm – which had recently been installed in the property by the fire service, during a home safety check – had been triggered by a wheat bag which had ignited inside the microwave.

Wheat bags are commonly used as an alternative to a hot water bottle to heat up a bed and help treat aching muscles and arthritis.

On this occasion no one was hurt.

However, earlier this month, an 83-year-old woman from Liverpool became the first person to die when one of the bags set fire to the bed she was sleeping in.

The service is now issuing a warning to all those residents using wheat bags.

“Wheat bags have become an increasingly popular alternative to hot water bottles but they can be dangerous if manufacturers’ instructions aren’t followed carefully,” a service spokeswoman said. “All wheat bags bought in shops should have manufacturer’s instructions with recommended maximum heating times - it’s really important that people read and follow those instructions and don’t overheat them especially when you consider it is often vulnerable and elderly people who use them.”

Other emergency calls received by the fire service, yesterday, include:

One at a property in East Street, Littlehampton, last night.

A tumble-dryer burst into flames in the house, at about 6.50pm.

Two crews from Littlehampton, along with police and paramedics, attended the incident.

Two children, suffering from minor smoke inhalation, were given first aid by ambulance crews at the scene.

However, neither of the youngsters required any hospital treatment.

Firefighters used two breathing apparatuses and two high-pressure hoses to quell the blaze before using a fan to extract the smoke from the building.

Earlier that day, three crews, one from Littlehampton and two from Worthing, were called to extinguish a bonfire near Dappers Lane, in Angmering.

The incident took place shortly before 2pm, with witnesses reporting that smoke was blowing across the road from the bonfire, which was threatening to damage surrounding buildings.

Fire crews used one high-pressure hose to extinguish the bonfire.

Advice was later given to the person responsible before officers left the scene just before 2.30pm.