Fire services have issued a warning following a fire at an industrial property in Stratton, Swindon caused by an electrical extension cable.
A tightly wound cable delivering electrical current was used while still on its reel resulting in a blaze that required over 20 firefighters to extinguish it. The Fire and Rescue Services for Dorset and Wiltshire has now made a statement urging those using extension cables to follow strict guidelines.
Four firefighter crews and an aerial appliance were needed to quell the electrical fire, which broke out in an industrial unit on Radway Road. The extension cable where the fire began was left on, while still wrapped around its drum.
For businesses, whether in Swindon and Chester, industrial electrical contractors can safety check equipment, and they should only employ qualified professionals to carry out tests.
Darren Nixon, Station Manager, explained that as power travels through an extension cable, heat is generated in it but normally dissipates. However, if a cable is left coiled while being used, this heat cannot dissipate and may build up. He added:
“This in turn can melt the outer insulation of the cable and the insulation on the cores. When this happens, as well as the risk of fire, the earth cores and neutral cores become electrically live, and this creates a serious risk of electrocution for anyone using an appliance fed through the reel.”
The fire services strongly advise that cables must only be used fully unwound and, when not in use, power supplies should always be switched off.