WEYMOUTH residents have been urged to check electrical equipment and their smoke alarms after a spate of fires caused by electrical faults.

Firefighters were called to two property fires yesterday, both of which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service was first called to a blaze in a first floor flat on Westmacott Road, Redlands, at 1.48am yesterday, after an electrical fault in an airing cupboard sparked the fire.

The flat suffered ‘severe’ damage from the fire, heat and smoke, and smoke damage was also caused to the communal hallways, with water damage caused to the ground floor laundry and a garage.

Two fire engines were called to the scene and firefighters battled the blaze for over half-an-hour before it was fully extinguished.

The fire service was also called to a blaze at a flat in Elwell Manor Gardens just before 11am, after a faulty washing machine caught fire.

Firefighters had to force entry into the property to extinguish the fire as the owner of the house had evacuated into the back garden.

The occupant of the flat also required medical treatment following the blaze.

Severe damage was caused to the kitchen by the fire and there is smoke damage to the rest of the house.

Sean Blizzard, station manager at Weymouth Fire Station, is now urging everyone to check their smoke alarms and make sure that their electrical equipment is safe.

Speaking after the incident at Elwell Manor Gardens, Mr Blizzard, said: “We have visited this flat before to carry out a home safety check and to fit the smoke alarms, and when we arrived at the scene the smoke alarms were going off which shows they were working.

“The smoke alarms helped save the woman and it just shows the importance of getting a home safety check, and I would like to urge everyone to check their smoke alarms.

“Electric fires are our main cause of fires in Dorset, and the majority are down to faulty equipment or people overloading sockets and plugs.

“Again I would like to remind people to make sure they do not overload sockets. Keep it down to a maximum of 13amps per socket, and to regularly check electrical equipment, that it is not faulty and that it is safe.”

Mr Blizzard added: “Even though the main damage of the fire was confined to the kitchen, there has been smoke damage to the rest of the house because she had left all the doors open and I would like to remind people to keep doors closed to try and keep damage to a minimum.

“The damage that has been caused is cosmetic but it will still cost a lot of money for the owner to repair it.”