Electronic cigarettes have been linked to more than 100 fires, new figures reveal.
Fire services in the UK are now attending at least one blaze involving the devices each week, statistics obtained by the Press Association suggest.
They have attended dozens of incidents suspected to have been sparked by e-cigarettes or related equipment including chargers in less than three years.
Data from 43 fire services show that since 2012 they have attended 113 calls to fires related to e-cigarettes. Several took place after users connected the devices to incompatible chargers.
The findings indicate fire brigades are recording a growing number of incidents involving the technology, which is now used by an estimated 2.1m Britons.
From the services which provided data, e-cigarettes were cited as being in some way involved in eight fires in 2012, rising to 43 last year, while there have been at least 62 so far this year — indicating that officers are now attending incidents relating to e-cigarettes at a rate of more than one a week.
Fire chiefs have issued safety warnings following a spate of incidents.
In August David Thomson, 62, was killed when an e-cigarette on charge exploded and ignited oxygen equipment he was believed to have been using. It was thought to be to be the first fatality from a fire involving an e-cigarette in Britain.
Other incidents have resulted in people being hurt, while there have been reports of users’ houses badly damaged.
Mark Hazelton, smoking and tobacco lead at the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, said they are investigating the extent of the trend.
“The fear behind it is we could see more of them (incidents) because it is a really big, growing market,” he said. “It’s difficult to tell the scale of it at the moment.
“We are monitoring it to see if it is a rising trend.”
Of the incidents where details were available, most took place while e-cigarettes were being charged.
Devices “exploded” while being powered up, while other cases involved batteries rupturing or overheating. Fires also broke out after e-cigarettes were plugged into computers or DVD players.
Some services were unable to provide precise information about the exact causes of fires
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved