HAILSHAM: Couple issue warning after batteries explode

Bob and Sheila Wickham
Bob and Sheila Wickham

A HAILSHAM couple narrowly escaped injury after a bag of used batteries burst into flames and caused an explosion in their home.

Bob and Sheila Wickham, of London Road, were left shaken up after the exploding batteries shot fragments of metal across their kitchen, setting alight the plastic bag they were kept in.

The retired couple had been storing the dry cell batteries in a plastic bag on their kitchen windowsill to recycle them at their local Boots store in Hailsham when the explosion took place.

Mr Wickham, 75, said, “Over a period of some four to five months, I have replaced various batteries consisting of 1.5 volt, 9 volt, button batteries and similar from torches and clocks and have stored the dud batteries for recycling.

“My wife was recently working in the kitchen when a sharp explosion occurred and fragments of battery were thrown across the room, setting alight the plastic bag in the process.”

Mr Wickham now wants to warn others of the dangers of storing dead batteries at home.

“My wife was lucky not to have been injured and fortunately, was able to extinguish the flames in the bag,” he told the Gazette.

“However, if she and I had been out of the house, or indeed away, then this incident could have had far more serious consequences,” he said.

Mrs Wickham, 76, said, “I was standing within about three feet of the bag, at the kitchen sink.

“I had them in a plastic bag on the windowsill ready to take to Boots for recycling.

“I was washing up when suddenly there was this big bang and fire. The bag caught alight.

“I grabbed the bag and put it into the sink and turned the tap on,” she said.

“We had to go around the floor picking up the pieces of battery.

“It was quite frightening to see the fire. We have wooden cupboards in the kitchen which could have caught alight.

“If I hadn’t been at home It could have been disastrous,” she said.

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue spokesman said he was not aware of any similar incidents taking place.