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Fire warning on extension leads from Old Kent Road 99p shop

Southwark Trading Standards is investigating two different types of extension leads sold at the 99p Plus Zone shop in Old Kent Road after a fire at a nearby home.

Fire warning on extension leads from Old Kent Road 99p shop
Fire warning on extension leads from Old Kent Road 99p shop

An Astra Slimline 13-amp 4-way extension lead has been investigated by the London Fire Brigade after a fire at a flat on the Old Kent Road on 10 January.

The lead was being used with an electric heater when the cable overheated and caused a small fire. Luckily the residents heard the cable 'explode' and a more serious fire was averted.

The fire brigade investigation concluded there were numerous defects including no earth protection whatsoever, no fuse in the plug, inadequate and poorly insulated cable and inadequate plug construction.

The lead was bought from 99p Plus Zone at 361 Old Kent Road. The shop voluntarily withdrew the remaining stock which has been seized by Southwark Trading Standards officers.

It is believed that the goods were imported directly from China to the store which has also instigated a recall. They were being sold for 2.99.

A second type of lead sold in the same store has also been condemned as unsafe because the live and neutral wiring is reversed. Not only could this damage appliances plugged into it and render them live when they appear to be off, it could also cause a fire.

This second lead, a Golden Anchor 4 way extension lead, on sale for 2.49, is very similar to the one that caused a fire in Renfrewshire in 2007.

"With the cold weather forcing many people to leave heaters plugged in overnight, the consequences of using a dangerous extension lead are terrifyingly obvious," says Cllr Linda Manchester, executive member for community safety.

"Two seizures by our officers so close together have highlighted the fact that there are more of these leads out there and everyone who has a set is in very real danger. It also highlights how important it is for members of the public to report any incident involving unsafe goods. Anyone who has bought one should stop using it and return it to the store or contact our Trading Standards Team."

The Astra Slimline four way extension leads (four gang adaptors) are white and come with a built in voltmeter. They are sold in a clear rigid plastic packaging. They have no fuse fitted and no earth connections. The Golden Anchor product is white with a black base and came packaged in blue and yellow boxes. Anyone using the leads risks being electrocuted or suffering a house fire.

Both products lack a manufacturer's address and the statutory 'CE' mark (Conformity European) which means that the manufacturer or the importer declares that the product is safe and meets the requirements of relevant safety regulations.

"Following the small fire on 10 January we have confirmed that these products pose a very serious risk to anyone using them," says Southwark borough fire commander Andy Snazell.

"The priority now is to ensure that they are all identified and either returned or handed back to trading standards."

• Southwark Trading Standards can be contacted on 020 7525 2000.

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