Fire in property - urgent advice needed

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    Fire in property - urgent advice needed

    My tenant rang this a/m to say her 5 year old attempted to make toast, unknown to them, and it didn't pop up causing a fire in the kitchen. Last time I had a major incident (sewage flood) it was sorted out by my insurance company. I am now with different insurers and they are only there 9-5 Mon-Fri. I have no idea if they will even cover this incident, there is fire damage to kitchen cupboards and I'm guessing the counter top, and I need to get an emergency electrician out to reinstall the power. Any ideas what else I should do/ who might be liable - should I wait till Monday re sorting out the fire damage?

    Thanks for any help/ advice anyone has...

    #2
    It depends on how much damage has been done. has the toaster just popped a fuse in the consumer unit?

    I would say the T was responsible for this and would let them know. It could well be that it's just smoke damage, which can make a recoverable incident look a write-off.

    I'd go round and have a look and assess the situation. If not, wait until Monday.

    What's a 5 year old doing on its own in the kitchen? Wandering nippers need a catch on the kitchen door.

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      #3
      first steps, make sure the property is safe - not sure why you need an emergency electrician to reinstate the power? but then again i don't know the extent of the damage.

      if it was a fire in a toaster, then the mains electrical wiring should be intact - though the wire in the toaster itself might be damaged. has the tenant attempted to reset any circuit breakers etc ? can you visit the property yourself?

      as for liability, whose toaster was it? though letting an unsupervised 5year old use it (whether they knew about it or not) is likely to be down the the tenant.

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        #4
        Go and take photographs immediately to limit the amount of damage the tenant can attempt to claim for.

        Do you provide smoke alarms or a fire blanket in the kitchen? Did you provide the toaster?

        The tenant had a duty of care to supervise her child, she failed to do this and the damage is the result - her fault entirely - take that stance.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

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          #5
          The toaster did not pop up precisely the one time it was operated, unsupervised, by a five year old... I'm going to make a wild guess: the 5 year old jammed it with bread.

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            #6
            Thanks for replies - toaster did cut out, but only after the toast had already caused a fire - tenant has advised me that there is damage to the cupboards above, and possibly the counter. Tenant has contents insurance, so will use this to claim for any items she has lost, but says she probably won't claim. Fire service were called out and extinguished the fire, they advised that the power cannot be put back on until an electrician has checked that there has been no damage to the electrics. Luckily my husband knows an electrician so hopefully I won't get charged extortionate call out rates...

            As for the rest - I'll leave it till Monday to talk to my insurers before taking any action re replacing cupboards.

            It's been a rubbish year - one thing after another, this house is a liability!!

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              #7
              Sometimes (often) having tenants is like having teenage children.

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                #8
                Originally posted by crazydaisy View Post
                toaster did cut out, but only after the toast had already caused a fire
                I'm just trying to get my head around how long would it take for a jammed toaster to set fire to its surroundings, to the extent that the services of the fire brigade were required... and this is a five-year-old unsupervised?

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                  #9
                  Depends whats around the toaster; on an empty counter with nothing above the bread would likely burn itself out (form a layer of 'charcoal' for want of a better word on the surface) before anything else ignited; a toaster next to a kitchen roll or under a low cupboard would be a different story.

                  That being said, putting a toaster next to the kitchen roll in the first place is of questionable wisdom, depending on the size of the kitchen of course, and every toaster ive ever had has said in the instructions to make sure its unobstructed above..... so does common sense if it comes to it, but it was a 5 year old afterall :-)
                  I'm not a lawyer, what I say is the truth as I understand it. I offer no guarantee except good intentions.

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                    #10
                    If work surface was at standard fitted kitchen height & layout, how did a 5 yd oldgain sufficient height to load/switch on toaster?
                    Yes, a 5yo may be able to reach up and pull a boiling pan off cooker at similar height, but to load/operate a toaster would require some height assistance IMO
                    Is 5 yo the scapegoat for adult error?
                    Young children, and some adults, should come with H&S warnings IMO

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                      #11
                      Most 5 year olds are quite capable of pulling a chair up to the worktop and operating a toaster. (Whether it's wise to let them do this unsupervised is another matter. I would supervise, mainly to make sure they didn't stick anything metal into the toaster to retrieve the bread!).

                      I agree that the toaster failed to pop up because it was jammed with bread but usually there is a cut-out function for the element.

                      Either way it does sound like negligence on T's part rather than anything you could have prevented. I would claim all costs to make good (inc. cabinets) from their deposit.
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                        #12
                        How many slots were in the toaster and how many slices were stuffed in? there must have been several and if one slice had caught fire then all the rest did so.
                        Do you have the instruction manual of the toaster?
                        Some manuals say:
                        - N.B. Always supervise the toaster when in use.
                        - The appliance is not intended for use by young children or infirm persons without supervision.
                        - Never use the appliance next to flammable objects (e.g. curtains, paper).
                        "I'll be back."

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