Newton Abbot Fire Station have issued a warning on social media following an incident last night in Newton Abbot.
Two fire engines were mobilised to Russel House, East Street to reports of a fire.
A spokesperson for Newton Abbot Fire Station posted:
“Shortly after arriving and investigating crews located the small fire, involving a microwave oven, in a first floor flat of the 3 storey building, which was heavily smoke logged.
“The elderly female occupant was also assisted out of the flat and to a point of safety (where she was administered with oxygen therapy by crews), before they set to work extinguishing the fire with 2BA, 1 hose reel jet and a safety jet.
“Once extinguished crews made the microwave and scene safe. Damage was confined to the microwave oven.
“The cause of the heavy smoke logging was the heating up of a ‘Wheat Bag’
“Wheat bags are popular especially among the elderly but can be dangerous if not used properly. We are urging users to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to ensure a wheat bag is not heated in a microwave for too long, or at too high a temperature.
“Because they are made of wheat the bags can quickly become too hot if they are heated for too long, causing an exothermic reaction, or used in a microwave that doesn’t have a working turntable which creates ‘hot spots'”
The following advice was also posted:
– Always buy wheat bags with clear heating instructions as per the British Standard – and follow those instructions carefully.
– Don’t use wheat bags or heat packs as bed warmers – only use for direct application to the body.
– Never overheat a wheat bag and do not use if any signs of over-use eg discolouration or a smell of burning or charring.
– Ensure the microwave turntable turns freely with the bag on it and is not obstructed.
– Never leave the bag in a microwave unattended when heating.
– Never reheat the bag until it has completely cooled – which could be up to two hours.
– Leave the bag to cool on a non-combustible surface such as a kitchen sink.