Novelty lighters could be fire hazard

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards officer Steve Brimble with one of the giant lighters.
Lancashire County Council Trading Standards officer Steve Brimble with one of the giant lighters.

FIREFIGHTERS and Trading Standards are warning people not to use novelty “giant” cigarette lighters after one set fire to the arm of a settee.

The fabric burst into flame when the 16cm (six inch) novelty self-ignited after being used to light a cigarette.

The Morecambe resident raised the alarm and managed to put out the fire before it spread, but Trading Standards and Fire Service Investigators are warning others who may already have bought the lighters to safely dispose of them.

County Councillor Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Clearly these oversized lighters pose a potential fire hazard and can cause serious injury so I would urge anybody who has one to stop using it straight away.

“We would also ask retailers who still have stocks to immediately remove them from sale.”

The lighter which caused the fire in Morecambe, labelled “M2000 Premium”, had been bought in Lancaster and was already subject to a European-wide withdrawal because of a fault with its ignition mechanism. Further investigations by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards found the same shop had also missed official warnings about another model, labelled the “Hailu Premium Giant Lighter”.

It was being sold despite a withdrawal notice being issued following concerns that it did not extinguish immediately after use, which could cause the main container to melt and release gas, resulting in one or a number of fireballs being released.

Coun. Atkinson added: “While on this occasion the lighters were being sold in Lancaster, they could be on the shelves anywhere in Lancashire so I would ask everyone to look out for them and report any they find.”

Both lighters look like a larger version of a standard disposable lighter, made up of transparent, coloured plastic, but being approximately 16cm (six inches) in height.

Mark Hutton, protection support manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “As soon as our investigators identified the source of the fire in Morecambe we worked quickly with Trading Standards to prevent further sales of these dangerous lighters. This incident serves as a reminder that poorly made products are a potential source of fire. While we’re keen to raise awareness about the specific dangers posed by these items, the best way to stay safe in the home is to have a working smoke alarm.”

Anyone with concerns about the safety of goods they have purchased can report the matter to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 040506. For a free home fire safety check, call freephone 0800 169 1125.