Many houses in Mansfield and Clipstone could have a potential bomb behind the fireplace.
That was the warning issued by Nottingham Fire And Rescue this week after a Clipstone woman narrowly escaped death when an old back boiler exploded.
Fire crews are warning of the potential dangers associated with disused solid fuel back boilers after two women were injured in the blast last Friday.
Susan Woods, 54 was hospitalised after the freak explosion in the front room of her house on Fifth Avenue on Friday.
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Firefighters from Mansfield and Edwinstowe and a Specialist Rescue Unit from Tuxford rushed to the house where they found the chimney breast had been demolished by the blast.
Fire crews are now urging homeowners, private tenants and landlords to seek advice on the safe care and maintenance of back boilers in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
Station Manager Dick Dawson said: “The occupants were extremely lucky – had they been sitting directly in front of the fire place when the boiler exploded we could easily be talking about fatalities now rather than casualties.
“Our understanding is that there have been several incidents nationally where people have been injured and in one case, sadly, someone was killed.
“Back boilers are sometimes drained down in vacant premises, or left in place after conversion of the property’s heating system rather than cause disruption removing it.
The issue appears to be when a redundant solid fuel back boiler has been left sealed and then sometime later a coal or wood fire is lit in front of the boiler. The unit heats up enough for the internal pressure to cause the boiler casing to explode.
“A lot of the houses in the Clipstone and Mansfield areas may still have these solid fuel back boilers, many of which may have been drained and sealed, but not vented. I would urge anyone who believes they do have one in their home to seek professional advice about the appropriate protection or venting of the system, or having it removed completely.”
More information about risks from redundant solid fuel back boilers is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/localgovernment/boilers.htm