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22 June 2011, 11:34
Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service has renewed its warning about the use of novelty oversized-lighters.
Todd Howard was trying to light a candle using a ‘BIG’ brand giant lighter. The lighter was inverted at the time of the accident. After several attempts, the flame erupted and spread across his hands, leaving his fingers severely blistered and requiring emergency hospital treatment.
Todd said: “It hurt a lot and even on the way over to hospital I could feel the blisters starting to form on my fingers. I had to return to hospital several times to have my fingers checked and the dressing changed. Even now three weeks later the skin on my fingers still feels tight and they are not fully healed. I was lucky it was only my fingers as if this had happened to someone that smoked it could quite easily have been their face and eyes. These lighters may look good but they are a real danger and should not be on sale.”
This is the first such injury from the use of these products in Hampshire that has been reported to Trading Standards. The ‘BIG’ brand lighter was bought from Gosport Market and Hampshire Trading Standards Officers have subsequently confiscated the remainder of the items that were discovered on sale.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber said: “Todd’s story illustrates just how dangerous these products can be and the serious damage that they can do. We wish him a speedy recovery from his injuries.
“They may appear to be novelty items but these lighters are hazardous and under UK law cannot be transported into or across Europe as they contain more than the legally permitted amounts of fuel. Therefore Trading Standards Officers are keen to identify and trace the importer and would like to hear from members of the public who may know where these lighters are on sale.”
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is reinforcing the warning, as when the lighter was dropped it spread flames across the floor.
Station Manager Ian Wadmore of the Community Safety Team, said: “We were very concerned to hear about Todd’s experience. There is clearly a large amount of fuel in these lighters which could have potentially caused a serious house fire.”
Earlier this year Trading Standards issued a warning about similar products after checks showed they could continue burning even after use. In safety tests on the ‘Hailu Premium Giant Lighter’, the lighter didn’t extinguish immediately, failed checks on the height of the flame, as well as checks to ensure it did not spit and flare.
Trading Standards and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are particularly worried that these lighters could be used by people lighting barbeques or camping at festivals. The advice is if you have one of these lighters, to stop using it and return it to the seller or contact Hampshire County Council Trading Standards.
If you have safety concerns about a particular item or know where these lighters are being sold, please contact Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service on 01962 833620.