Warning after pensioner’s clothes catch fire on portable heater

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An elderly man was taken to hospital after clothes he put on a portable heater caught fire.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are reminding people of the dangers of using the heaters during the winter months.

Firefighters were called to a house in Healey at 5.30pm on Tuesday by a neighbour of the 90-year-old man.

Watch Manager John Jackson, of Batley Fire Station, said clothes and rags had been placed directly onto a portable heater to dry. They ignited and caused a small smouldering fire which filled the whole house with smoke.

Mr Jackson helped the man out of the house and he was taken to hospital by ambulance where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Mr Jackson said: “The small fire had died out but this could have been a lot worse. Fortunately there were working smoke alarms in the property and the friendly neighbour raised the alarm.

“Drying clothes on a heater like this is fraught with risk as combustibles can easily ignite. There were a number of portable heaters within the property, including one in the bathroom, which is very dangerous as electrics and water do not mix.

“Portable heaters can be a favoured alternative to central heating but please ensure they are positioned safely and maintained in good working order.

“If you have an elderly neighbour, do your bit for them at this time of year and pop your head in to check they are living safely.”