Laptop blaze in Northampton flat sparks stay-at-home safety warnings during Covid-19 lockdown

Residents' lucky escape from town centre fire

Fire chiefs issued urgent safety warnings over being cooped up at home during the coronavirus crisis after a 999 call sparked by a burning laptop in a Northampton flat.

Everybody in the flat escaped unhurt but specialist investigators discovered the blaze was started when the device overheated.

A resident had been watching something on the laptop and left it unattended on a bed after the screening finished.

This burnt out laptop started the blaze in a Northampton flat

Three Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue appliances rushed to the town centre block, including one from Mereway. Station manager Ro Cutler, said: “The fans inside the laptop were unable to cool down components inside the device as the vents were covered by the bedding, which caused the laptop to overheat and catch fire.

“Luckily no one was hurt as a result of the fire, however it caused significant damage to the flat and other areas of the building. When using technology such as laptops and mobile phones, it is vital that you allow devices to cool down, in particularly after prolonged usage.

“This is really important in the next few weeks where we may find ourselves using these items a bit more than usual. If in doubt about an electrical items integrity, do not use it. Make a point of checking your smoke detectors.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the country into lockdown earlier this week in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly Covid-19 big, forcing people to stay at home, persuading the fire services to issue top tips for staying safe while using tech gear at home:

NEVER rest devices on bedding or blankets.

ALWAYS allow room for airflow around these items so that they can cool down.

NEVER keep paperwork inside a closed laptop

ALWAYS allow devices to cool down after use on a flat hard surface such as a table where air can circulate

NEVER keep your mobile devices under your pillow

ALWAYS switch off items when not in use

Visit http://www.northantsfire.gov.uk/safety for more information about safety in the home,