Ho-Ho-HOT! Warning over microwave wheat bags after ‘Santa’ sparks fire scare at Exeter University

Firefighters have issued a waring over microwaveable wheat bags after a Santa-themed warmer sparked a blaze at Exeter University.

A crew from Danes Castle was called to the campus yesterday afternoon (Friday, January 31) after the Father Christmas item burst into flames.

It had overheated in a microwave after being left unattended, say rescuers.

“Thankfully nobody was harmed and the crews used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear the smoke,” said a spokesperson for Danes Castle Fire Station.

When used safely, wheat bags pose no risk, but on this occasion the bag was both overheated and left unattended…

The Santa-themed wheat bag sparked a fire scare at Exeter University. Picture: Danes Castle Fire Station

The Santa-themed wheat bag sparked a fire scare at Exeter University. Picture: Danes Castle Fire Station

The Exeter-based team has highlighted the incident to issue safety advice over wheat bags, which are an alternative to hot water bottles and are heated in the microwave.

“When used safely, wheat bags pose no risk, but on this occasion the bag was both overheated and left unattended,” said the spokesperson.

The Santa-themed wheat bag sparked a fire scare at Exeter University. Picture: Danes Castle Fire Station

The Santa-themed wheat bag sparked a fire scare at Exeter University. Picture: Danes Castle Fire Station

The crew offered the following advice:

  • Always follow the manufactures instructions when heating your wheat bag and never leave it unattended when in the microwave;
  • If previously heated, always allow your wheat bag to cool completely before re-heating;
  • Check your wheat bag regularly for any damage or charring. If damage is found, you should dispose of it;
  • Wheat bags should not be used as a bed warmer as they can continue to heat and self-combust.  
The Santa-themed wheat bag sparked a fire scare at Exeter University. Picture: Danes Castle Fire Station

The Santa-themed wheat bag sparked a fire scare at Exeter University. Picture: Danes Castle Fire Station

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