RESIDENTS are being warned of the risk of leaving chemicals stowed away together in hot weather after a blaze which could have turned serious.

A shed, pictured, owned by an elderly man caught fire on Wednesday evening after a chemical reaction between domestic solvents.

Luckily, a neighbour was alerted to the blaze, in High Trees, Broadmayne, and managed to extinguish it before firefighters arrived.

Steve Cheeseman, station commander at Dorchester Fire Station, above, explained that if lots of different chemicals are kept in sheds in high temperatures it can cause plastic chemical bottles to expand, leaking liquid. He said: “At this time of the year it’s getting quite hot and heat can build up inside sheds, so it is good practice to ventilate them every so often to let the air in.

“Check to see what you are storing and whether it’s still safe to use.”

The shed and its contents were severely burnt, and a section of guttering and an electrical outlet were also damaged.

The elderly resident’s son said he was shocked because he didn’t think chemicals which were highly flammable were kept in the shed. His partner added: “We used to have a gas camping stove in here but thankfully that wasn’t there at the time. We think the fire happened because we hadn’t opened the shed for five days and it got too hot.

“We are lucky it didn’t set the petrol lawnmower on fire or it could have been awful.” The couple said they estimate up to £3,000 of damage has been caused by the fire, and warned others to make sure they open up their sheds in hot weather.

The woman added: “We are so grateful to the neighbour.

“If it wasn’t for him things could have been a lot worse.”