A NEWPORT family had a "very lucky escape" after a device being used to charge an e-cigarette exploded and set fire to a bedroom.

Mother-of-three Sally Willis told the Argus about finding the room at the house, in Humber Road, Bettws, ablaze on Monday evening, minutes after hearing a "terrific bang" upstairs as she watched television.

And South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning on the dangers of electrical chargers in the wake of the fire, the latest in a series of similar incidents across the region.

Mrs Willis was alone in the house shortly before 6.30pm on Monday, and said the incident happened over a period of just 20 minutes.

"I heard a terrific bang upstairs when I was watching television," she said.

"I have two dogs and thought it was one of them that knocked something over. I went upstairs and looked in my daughter’s bedroom but didn’t see anything.

"I went back down to the kitchen and then later on I heard a crackling noise. I thought it was our little dog but when I went upstairs I saw the room was on fire."

Mrs Willis slammed the bedroom door shut and, after running downstairs, rang 999.

South Wales Fire and Rescue crews from the city's Maindee and Malpas stations were on the scene in five minutes and extinguished the fire.

"They were amazing, absolutely superb," said Mrs Willis, 52, who added that a bed frame, mattress and duvet were all ruined, and fitted wardrobes had been damaged. The bedroom floor was also burnt.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service is warning that the increase in such fires is mainly due to the use of fake or faulty chargers, used one mobile phones, e-cigarettes or other similar devices. But real chargers can pose risks too if they are not used properly, or not used for the device for which they are intended.

The fire at Humber Road is understood to have been caused when the hot battery in the e-cigarette exploded out onto the bed, igniting the duvet and bedding. The e-cigarette had been plugged into a charger on a chest of drawers.

"The electric cigarette had been bought from the internet some months ago and had been plugged into a charger that was not intended to be used to charge an electric cigarette," said Simon Bevan, watch manager at Malpas fire station.

Mrs Willis added: “My family and I have had a very lucky escape. I dread to think what could have happened if this had taken place during the night when we were all in bed and asleep."

THE variety and number of mobile electronic devices, which can include phones, MP3 players, laptops, tablets and e-readers, as well as e-cigarettes, continues to increase.

And South Wales Fire and Rescue service is warning that among the biggest risks posed by chargers is the availability of cheap generic options online, and the misuse of ‘official’ chargers and so-called ‘generic’ chargers, which can lead to overheating.

It says that while chargers on offer on some auction sites and websites are often considerably cheaper than their branded counterparts, there is no guarantee they meet EU and UK safety standards.

Different devices require different levels of charge, and generic chargers run the risk of putting too much energy into a device, causing the battery to overheat.

Devices should not be left to charge unattended, especially overnight, and attention should be paid to the surface a device and charger are placed on, and the surroundings.

For more information on these issues, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk