Teenager’s phone charger blaze nightmare

18:24 16 February 2017

Fire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone charger

Fire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone charger

Archant

Ella Dye, aged 13, from Exmouth, is warning against charging mobile phones overnight; her bedroom caught fire

Fire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone chargerFire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone charger

A 13-year-old schoolgirl from Littleham is highlighting the danger of leaving mobile phones charging overnight after her bedroom caught fire.

Ella Dye, an Exmouth Community College student, last week led her family to safety in the early hours of the morning because her bed was engulfed in flames; her phone charger, plugged in nearby, was ablaze.

The teenager, of St Margaret’s View, Exmouth, and her family has spoken to the Journal in the hope of preventing another near-tragedy.

Ella, who has suffered nightmares since the fire, had nipped to the loo, using her phone as a torch, finding flames licking up the walls of her room when she returned to bed moments later.

Fire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone chargerFire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone charger

Her mum Jacqui Dye, 44, said: “She came back and saw where her head was only a few minutes ago; it was completely ablaze. It doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s really worrying.

“Her bed was alight. There were really big flames where her pillows were.

She added: “She’s had nightmares; nightmares that she did get up and nightmares that she didn’t. It’s going to take some time.”

Ella’s mobile phone had been on charge overnight near her bed, plugged into a wall socket.

Fire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone chargerFire damage in Ella Dye's bedroom from her phone charger

The teenager believes the family dogs, sleeping in the same room, initially raised the alarm, waking Ella and prompting her to get up.

Unplugging her phone from the charger to use as a torch, Ella left the room to use the bathroom, but was confronted by flames when she returned minutes later. She quickly raised the alarm.

After the fire service tackled the blaze, the shocked family huddled in silence under a blanket on the sofa. They cannot return to the property for three months because of water and smoke damage.

Mum Jacqui is warning against buying cheap mobile phone chargers or leaving them on overnight, or unattended.

She said the charger in Ella’s room was ‘completely welded’ to the socket.

“If the price is too good to be true, don’t buy it,” Jacqui said. “And don’t leave them on overnight. Charge your phone during the day on a hard surface so if anything does happen it’s not going to catch alight.”

Station manager Nigel Deasy, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The family did the right thing by closing the door on the fire and leaving the property safely before calling 999.

“We would like to remind people to ensure they buy chargers from a reputable retailer or the product manufacturer as unofficial chargers are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations.

“In addition, do not leave electrical items charging on soft furnishings which allow a local heat build-up with the risk of it causing a fire.”

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