Panel heater catches fire and prompts product recall

Energy type: 
Electricity
 
Event summary: 
Fire and Emergency NZ notified Energy Safety of a fire involving a panel heater that resulted in moderate fire damage to a house.
There was approximately 20m2 of fire damage affecting the interior and exterior wall of the lounge directly behind the heater, through to the corner of the bathroom.
 
Accident ID: 
171013-03
 
Accident date: 
12 October 2017
 
Site: 
Domestic
 
Environment: 
Building
 
Voltage: 
230
 
Equipment: 
Fibre Panel Heater
 
Accident type: 
Fire
 
Casualty: 
Non-fatality
 
Injury: 
No injury
 
Property damage level: 
Extended to the room and structure containing the equipment
 
Outcome of investigation: 

The failure of the wall mounted panel heater caused a fire to start in the wall of the house directly behind the heater, causing moderate damage to the lounge and a bathroom.

A forensic examination of the panel heater took place in an independent testing laboratory with representatives from all interested parties.

With the removal of a piece of the front panel it was found that the internal damage was located around the self-resetting thermal cut out and has radiated out from there. There were significant signs of charring present around the self-resetting thermal cut out, which was almost entirely consumed.

We were able to confirm from this examination that the mode of failure with this heater appears to be the same as other recorded incidents, which involved the failure of the self-resetting thermal cut out.

As a result of this investigation the supplier of the heater agreed to conduct a voluntary safety recall.