I am investigating a fire where the controls of a waterbed heater is located at the origin of the fire. The controls enclosure was on the floor beside the bed and was plugged into the wall outlet, which was switched on. The owner stated that the heater controls were on at the time and that the temperature setting was never changed since the heater was installed.
The controls enclosure was made of light-coloured plastic. The top has completely collapsed and was burnt, but the underside, which was in contact with the carpet, retained the original colour. The make of the heater is Tech Mirage (Singapore) Pte Ltd and it was manufactured in 1989.
Has anyone come across or heard of such controls developing a fault, heating and causing a fire or catching fire itself?
With anticipated thanks.
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Thread: Waterbed Heater Controls Fire
03-11-2001, 04:46 AM #1Marcel DewerseFirehouse.com Guest
Waterbed Heater Controls Fire
03-12-2001, 07:40 AM #2eyecueFirehouse.com Guest
Since there is more than likely a mechanical
device for controlling the temperature, You should take a resistance reading at the plu to the heater pad. If it reads low, then the
pad actually pulled too much current through the control and caused it to overheat.
03-12-2001, 04:53 PM #3axmanFirehouse.com Guest
Did the bed have water in it?
STAY SAFE ALL OF MY BROTHERS.
03-13-2001, 08:59 AM #4res7cueFirehouse.com Guest
I investigated a very simialr type fire in the early 90's, it was eventually attibuted to the temp control for the water bed due to excessive wear which allowed the control to overheat and ignite the clothing that the unit was setting on.
This was confirmed when the unit was sent to an independant lab by the insurance C&O Investigator.
Hope this helps.
03-13-2001, 02:40 PM #5Marcel DewerseFirehouse.com Guest
Thank you for that information. I will follow it up. I am obtaining an undamaged unit to see what it contains and how a fault could cause a temperature rise.
I want to make another point. I wonder whether the cause of the fire is to be found elsewhere because the UNDERSIDE of the controller is undamaged: it still has the off-white colour and the label. I would have said that if the controller had faulted and had run hot, the heat would have spread through conduction and travelled in all directions, including downwards and burnt the carpet on which it was lying. As it is, the controller protected the carpet from the heat. Any comment?
03-13-2001, 02:49 PM #6Marcel DewerseFirehouse.com Guest
The bed had water in it at the time of the fire. The heater pad is in good condition and was not damaged. The resistance cold is 200 ohm. The heater pad is not suspect since there is no burn pattern under the mattress.
04-15-2001, 01:44 PM #7CJBFireConsultantFirehouse.com Guest
After reviewing the limited information you provided in all these posts, it sounds to me like you may want to look at other potential sources for ignition. If the water heater controls were damaged top down, and there is no damage to the underside or to the water heater pad itself, the limited information presented suggests that it is probable the fire impinged upon this location from another source.
What other sources of ignition were you able to eliminate before arriving at the water bed heater controls?
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