Exploding thermometer rains fire on baby

A MOTHER'S quick thinking actions saved her six-day-old baby from a fire in her Ipswich home.Brave mum Alison Matthews acted swiftly after a decorative Galileo thermometer exploded on a shelf above a gas fire causing mini fireballs to rain down in the sitting room.

A MOTHER'S quick thinking actions saved her six-day-old baby from a fire in her Ipswich home.

Brave mum Alison Matthews acted swiftly after a decorative Galileo thermometer exploded on a shelf above a gas fire causing mini fireballs to rain down in the sitting room.

Ms Matthews bravely tackled the blaze herself after one of the fireballs ignited sleeping baby Daniel's blanket.

She then called for her teenage daughter, Sian, to take herself and Daniel to safely out of the Henniker Road house.

Ms Matthews said: "I heard a big bang. As I had some clothes in my hand I put the fire out with the clothes.

"Sian came downstairs and I told her to take the baby out. I was back and forth with bowls of water.

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"It was quite hard to put out because there were pools of fire which landed on the floor. If was like a rain of fire with little balls. Once you put one out there was another one.

"There was one on the blanket Daniel was wrapped in. I was calm until afterwards.

"It was terrifying."

Ms Matthews said the fire took about ten minutes to put out after it broke out at about 10am yesterday.

Sian, 13, said: "I was upstairs and heard something smash. I thought something had fallen off the shelf. Then I heard screaming. I came downstairs and saw flames on the carpet.

"I had inhaled a lot of smoke and was coughing."

Meanwhile Nathan Clarke, who was staying in the neighbouring house, ran out in his bare feet and kicked in the family's front door to see if he could help.

The family went to Ipswich Hospital where Alison and Sian were treated for smoke inhalation but were released later that day.

Fortunately baby Daniel was unharmed and had not inhaled any smoke. Alison said: "He slept through it all."

Ms Matthews said neighbours and family rallied round after the incident.

At the time assistant divisional officer Karl Rolfe said: "It was not a big fire. There was no structural damage and not very much smoke damage. The family were very lucky."

N Galileo thermometers work on the principle that the density of liquids varies with temperature.

Balls of slightly different weight sink float as the temperature changes and brass tags attached to them indicate the temperature.

The lowest of the floating balls in the upper part of the glass cylinder shows the correct temperature.

The liquid inside is a mix of paraffin and petrol, both of which can be found in other household products, that is very sensitive to a change in heat.

Manufacturers warn that the item should not be placed near heaters and fires.

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