Safety warnings over buying at your door

SAFETY experts are today warning people about the dangers of buying furniture from door-to-door salesmen after an Ipswich family narrowly escaped from a fire involving a sofa.

SAFETY experts are today warning people about the dangers of buying furniture from door-to-door salesmen after an Ipswich family narrowly escaped from a fire involving a sofa.

The county's fire service says people are risking their lives when they buy from disreputable salesmen for the sake of saving a few pounds.

Regulations put in place in the late eighties has reduced the death toll from fires started in upholstered furniture - but today's message is homeowners must also help themselves.

Assistant Divisional Officer Martyn Thorpe said: "The regulations have been very effective at reducing the terrible death toll but many deaths are still occurring by furniture that does not comply and people should be careful where they buy from.


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"Also, even though the regulations are over 14 years old there may still be non-compliant furniture in circulation.

"People are very reluctant to throw it out but it puts lives at risk."

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The warning follows a house fire in Pimpernel Road, Ipswich, on Saturday when a living room was gutted.

Homeowners Marie and Robert Mason blamed a sofa they bought from a travelling salesman for the speed at which the flames spread.

The furniture had national safety standard stickers but went up in seconds according to Mrs Mason, who started the fire by failing to put out a cigarette.

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Buy from reputable sources or named companies and check for the fire safety labels and swing tickets

Furniture made between 1950 and 1988 could well contain foam which is highly flammable

There are strict regulations in rented accommodation and landlords must ensure items comply

Safety laws are there to protect people and make furniture resistant to fire and more difficult to burn but do not make them fireproof to something like a smouldering cigarette

Residents who have a problem with a piece of furniture, or feel it is dangerous or unsafe, should call Suffolk County Council's trading standards department on 01473 584358.

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