Wheat-bag warning after Melrose fire

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FIREFIGHTERS have issued a warning after an elderly woman was rescued in Melrose following a bedroom fire started by a wheat-filled heat bag.

The Galashiels crew were called to Priorwood Court at 3.15am last Sunday after the radiated heat from the microwaveable bag set fire to a small area of the woman’s electric blanket. Paramedics gave the woman oxygen therapy at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “Overheated wheat bags can smoulder for hours and then catch alight. These 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.

“It (wheat bag fires) is something we get called out to at this time of year, but thankfully we have not had lots of incidents of this type.”

Officers say wheat bags or heat packs should never be used as bed warmers, but only for direct application to the body, adding: “Never overheat a wheat bag and do not use if any signs of a smell of burning or charring. Never reheat the bag until it has completely cooled. Leave the bag to cool on a non-combustible surface.”