Gateshead family home damaged from fire caused by exploding vape

The Sweeney's home was badly damaged after a vape caught fire. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

A family home was badly damaged when a vape exploded and set fire to a bedroom.

Craig Sweeney and his 21-year-old daughter had left their home in Kibblesworth, Gateshead to pick up his younger children from school.

She had left her vape on her bedside table while they were out but it exploded and fell onto the bed starting a fire.

She returned to find her room ablaze with Mr Sweeney ordering his children out of the building. They called 999 while he checked on his wife who was upstairs in bed ill.

The bedroom door was closed preventing the spread of the fire but Mr Sweeney, his wife, daughter and daughter's girlfriend required treatment for smoke inhalation.

The bed caught fire after the vape exploded on it. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

While they were not seriously injured Mrs Sweeney did need to spend the night in hospital after the incident but has since been discharged and returned home.

Mr Sweeney has now thanked firefighters that helped save his home and his family's lives.

“We had just popped out to grab the kids from school and the initial plan was to run to the shop quickly before returning home," he said. "But I changed my mind as the kids were clearly in no mood once they had finished school.

“When we got back, my oldest went straight upstairs and when she opened the door to her room yelled ‘Dad there’s a fire’. I panicked. I got the kids and the dogs out of the house woke my wife and turned off the electrics.

“I dread to think what would have happened if we didn’t get back to the house when we did, my wife was upstairs in the next room asleep, the fire could have easily spread. Thank god my daughter had closed that door to keep the dogs out of her room, it kept the fire and smoke from spreading to the rest of the house."

Vapes can pose a fire risk. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service says the lithium-ion batteries inside vapes can make them dangerous and that they should be disposed of in local recycling centres as they pose a greater fire risk in household bins.

Nicole Mordecai, who leads the Prevention and Education team for the West district, said: “Vapes have lithium-ion batteries inside them which can be extremely volatile making them prone to overheating and causing fires in the home.

“Even though the vape that cause this incident was bought from a reputable source, it wasn’t plugged in and left charging for long, and was on a hard surface, the nature of the battery can cause a fire in the home. Thankfully Craig’s daughter closed the door to her bedroom that afternoon, otherwise, the situation could have been much worse.

“We would never expect people to tackle a fire in their home, it can be so dangerous and cause significant injuries but we understand that in a moment of panic like Craig was you may just want to act.

“Please check you have working smoke alarms in your property and get in touch if you need new ones fitted, they are the first line of response we have to a fire in the home and they’ve saved countless lives so we want everyone to have them in their homes.

"Remember if you do have a fire in your home, close the doors if you can, this slows the fire and prevents it from spreading through your home, get out, stay out and call 999.”

Full fire safety advice is available on the Tyne and Wear Fire Service website.

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