Electrical fire warning

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FRIDGES, freezers and microwaves are among the most common unsuspected fire threats lurking inside South Yorkshire homes, new figures have revealed.

Sheffield has seen a surge in blazes caused by misused appliances since 2009.

A survey in Sheffield by the Electrical Safety Council found people admitted committing a range of safety sins which increase the risk of fire.

Fires caused by misused appliances have increased by a third over the last three years, despite an overall decline in house fires.

According to the Electrical Safety Council, 39 per cent of people surveyed did not clean behind their fridge or freezer, potentially blocking air vents, while 29pct risked fire by placing items on top of microwaves. Overloaded plug adaptors and unattended tumble dryers were other blunders.

South Yorkshire Fire Service revealed that half of all accidental house fires - about 300 in 2010/11 -are caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment. Diane Malpass, head of community safety for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Electrical fires account for around half of all house fires but so many are caused by common blunders that could be avoided.”

Phil Buckle, director general of the Electrical Safety Council, said: “Fires caused by misuse of appliances are so easy to prevent by taking simple steps.”