Warning issued about how to heat homes safely after fire destroys Chopwell bungalow

A bungalow in Chopwell was badly damaged after a wood burning stove caught fire. Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters are urging people to think about how to heat their homes safely after a bungalow was destroyed in a fire caused by a wood burning stove.

The fire started when a wood burning stove, being used to keep the living room warm without switching on the heating, caught fire.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) attended the incident in Chopwell, Gateshead just after 10pm on 2 January to find the bungalow engulfed in flames.

Firefighters have urged people to think about how to heat their homes safely. Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

The female occupier left the property before fire crews arrived and was treated by the North East Ambulance Service before being taken to hospital with suspected burn injuries.

Senior firefighters are now calling for members of the public to rethink their "heating hacks" - which they said may be more dangerous than people think.

Group manager Paul Thompson, head of service delivery west for TWFRS, said “We know times are tough and people feel like there is no other option than these alternative ways to heat their home but they are putting themselves in danger.

“There are much safer ways to keep yourself and your home warm this winter and you can find lots of information on our website.

"We also want to remind people to never tackle a fire themselves and would always encourage you to get to safety and call 999."

He added: “Throwing water on a fire caused by oil igniting or an electrical fire can be disastrous, this can cause a fire to spread even further.

“Please check your smoke alarms and make sure they are in working order as they are the first line of defence when it comes to fighting fires and keeping you safe.

“If you need any additional support for either yourselves, or a vulnerable family member or neighbour, then please get in touch. We are here to help.”

More information is available on the TWFRS website, where people can also request a visit to ensure smoke alarms work and are in the correct position.

A wood burning stove was being used in the living room to keep warm without switching on the heating. Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

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