Halogen heater caused Exmouth shop blaze, fire service reveals

FIRE investigators have revealed the cause of the blaze which tore through an Exmouth shop and closed off the town centre.

FIRE investigators have revealed the cause of the blaze which tore through an Exmouth shop and closed off the town centre.

Blaze experts said the Bargains Galore blaze was started by a halogen heater which ignited combustible materials in the rear stockroom of the store.

George Setter, fire investigation support team, said: "Using a variety of additional heating appliances is to be expected during cold weather.

"This unfortunate incident highlights the dangers of their use which can be so easily overlooked.

"Everyone who benefits from their use must be aware of the potential they have to ignite combustible materials adjacent to them."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to think more carefully about fire safety.

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Fire Safety Law requires traders to have a current fire risk assessment for the premises that they are responsible for.

Information and guidance on their responsibilities is available from the communities and local government website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/fire

The fire service wants traders to review their fire risk assessment, paying particular attention to:

* maintaining their means of escape, keeping them clear of storage

* checking the maintenance and test frequency of their fire alarm system and escape lighting

* ensuring their staff training is current and up to date

* additional heating appliances in use over periods of cold weather, ensuring they are checked, serviceable, do not affect the means of escape and are clear of combustible materials.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze as it ripped through the shop, on The Parade.

Exmouth town centre, and the Magnolia Centre, were cordoned off as acrid smoke billowed from the shop.

Businesses closed early and workers were sent home as the blaze spread to neighbouring flats.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is asking responsible persons of premises to think more carefully about fire safety.

Fire Safety Law requires responsible persons to have a current fire risk assessment for the premises that they are responsible for. Information and guidance on their responsibilities is available from the Communities & Local Government website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/fire

In particular responsible persons are asked to review their fire risk assessment, paying particular attention to:

* maintaining their means of escape, keeping them clear of storage

* checking the maintenance and test frequency of their fire alarm system and escape lighting

* ensuring their staff training is current and up to date

* additional heating appliances in use over periods of cold weather, ensuring they are checked, serviceable, do not affect the means of escape and are clear of combustible materials.

Further guidance for responsible persons under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 can be obtained from the DSFRS website www.dsfire.gov.uk or via the fire safety helpline 01392 872288.

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