Fire brigade issue warning about portable heaters as energy bills set to remain high

The London Fire Brigade is urging people to take care when heating their homes this winter over fears that attempts to slash energy bills could lead to a rise in fires.

Following reports that energy prices are expected to remain high for the next two years, firefighters warned that seemingly cheaper ways to heat homes can have fire risks. 

Portable heaters have caused over 285 fires in the last three years, injuring over 130 people and killing 11.

The most common source of these fires is due to faults in the appliance, followed by heaters being placed too close to combustible items. 

Firefighters are urging people to check that heaters are well maintained and in good working order and to take the time to position them carefully.

The Brigade’s warning comes following a devastating fire in New York, where 17 people died.

The fire is believed to have been caused by a malfunctioning electric portable heater.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “The thoughts of everyone at London Fire Brigade are with those affected by the tragic fire in New York.

“The fire is a sobering reminder for people to consider the fire risks of using alternative means to heat your home.

“With the unwelcome news that energy prices are set to remain high, we’re expecting more people to look in their lofts and garages for heaters to use in replacement of turning on the heating.”

DAC Pugsley also recommended that older heaters coming out of storage should be checked to see if they were in good condition.

He added: “If it’s sparking, wires are loose, safety guards or other safety features are missing, or if it’s showing signs of damage, replace it with a new one or get it tested and repaired by a qualified electrician.

“Check that the heater isn’t on a recall list too and always buy them from a reputable seller. Fire Investigators have attended serious fires in recent years caused by non-compliant and counterfeit heaters that have been recalled due to safety concerns.

“It’s also absolutely vital that heaters are kept well away from curtains, furniture, paperwork and are never used to dry clothes.

“Always sit at least a metre away from the heater, particularly those using them whilst working from home, as it could set fire to your clothes or your chair and position them where they won’t be knocked over and away from pets.”

The Brigade also urged people to ensure their homes are safe by using our Home Fire Safety Checker. For advice on how to reduce energy bills, visit Simple Energy Advice.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.