Power cut light sparks fire

2008-04-10 00:00

A rechargeable emergency light that caught alight at a home in Hayfields yesterday could have caused a major fire but for the presence of mind of the family’s domestic worker.

Angel Funeka proved to be a real angel for the Preiss family.

Homeowner Bill Preiss said Funeka was home alone, ironing in the laundry room, when she smelled smoke.

She found the rechargeable light ablaze in the living room, and her quick reaction prevented the fire from spreading.

Preiss believes the incident is a spin-off of load shedding as suppliers capitalise on the black-outs by selling cheap imports to meet the demand for emergency lights.

“My house got almost burnt down because everyone is running to buy these emergency lights, thinking they are safe. They came with instructions and everything. Meanwhile, we are sitting with time bombs because of all the rubbish being dumped on the market,” he said.

Preiss said he bought two of the lamps, designed by Premier, from a Mica hardware store recently.

The box they came in said the lights have a cut-out circuit to prevent excess charging and must be kept plugged in to keep charged.

In spite of this, Preiss said, the lamp must have over-charged, almost burning his house down.

“The damage was limited to one room, burning about R5 000’s worth of furniture.

But that is beside the point. The point is that it might have resulted in a loss of life … My message is for people to be careful when buying all these emergency lights or cooking devices.

They need to buy something proven, or certified by SABS, because it seems there are unscrupulous people who now want to abuse the system by bringing in sub-standard items,” he said.

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