Warning after TikTok heater-hack caused fire in Derbyshire tower block

Warning after TikTok heater-hack caused fire in tower block Credit: Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service

A flat fire in Derbyshire which caused the evacuation of a tower block was started by a home-made heater which went viral on TikTok.

The device was found when firefighters from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a blaze in a flat on Gower Street in Derby on November 30.

The service is now warning householders of the dangers of using TikTok viral home-made heaters.

The heater, made of tea lights and terracotta pots caused around 50 other residents had to be evacuated from the building.

The brigade described the Heath Robinson-esque devices as a "very dangerous" social media trend, as it warned residents against turning to their use as a cheaper alternative, or "hack", to heating the home.

Station manager Barclay Masterson, of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Although these hacks may look like a good way to save money on heating bills, they are very dangerous and we would urge people not to follow the videos posted online.

"Luckily, in this instance, the occupiers witnessed the failure of the homemade device and evacuated the flat safely before calling 999 – but it could have been very different, and I would therefore like to remind everyone of the dangers that DIY heaters pose."

Explaining what had happened, he said: "On this occasion, the heat released from the base of the tea lights was enough to weaken the terracotta plates they were placed on, causing the homemade device to collapse and the melted wax to ignite."

The woman who lives at the flat had been given the device, rather than made it herself, the brigade said.