news

Leaking can of dry hair shampoo causes 'subsonic explosion' after being left near overhead heater

The force of the blast caused the window of the Notting Hill bathroom to blow out of its frame

The scene of the 'subsonic explosion' on Tuesday (September 19)(Image: LFB)

Firefighters rushed to the scene of a “small explosion” on Tuesday (September 19) which had been caused by a leaking bottle of dry hair shampoo.

The occupant of the property was in the bathroom at the time, but luckily was uninjured in an incident which the fire brigade said can be deadly.

At around 9.04pm, the leaking can ignited after being placed too close to an overhead heater in the bathroom of a Ladbroke Square property, in Notting Hill .

The dry shampoo caused a “subsonic explosion”, the force of which caused the window of the bathroom to blow out of its frame.

A total of three fire engines and 15 firefighters from Fulham , Hammersmith and Chelsea fire station attended the incident.

When the London Fire Brigade (LFB) arrived, the small fire following the explosion had been extinguished.

The can which caused the 'subsonic explosion'(Image: London Fire Brigade)

The occupant, who was in the bathroom at the time of the explosion, was uninjured.

Simon Tuhill, LFB borough commander for Camden, attended the scene as a Hazmat officer and explained on Twitter why the occupant managed to escape unscathed.

He said: “On arrival, 10% of the flat had been damaged by an explosion and windows blown out to the other side of the street.

“The cause was an aerosol can which had leaked in the bathroom and when a fan heater started up it ignited the gas causing over pressure.

“Occupier was in the bathroom at the time but totally uninjured. Being so close to the source meant it hadn't picked up the energy to hurt.

“This is actually better described as a 'deflagration', which is a subsonic explosion.”

The window was blown out of its frame as a result of the explosion(Image: LFB)

The brigade was called just after 9.04pm and the incident was over by 9.54pm.

A spokesman from LFB has since urged people to avoid placing flammable objects near heaters, something which he said can be deadly.

“Any cans which contain a compressed gas should be kept clear from any heat sources, whether it be heaters or candles,” he said.

“Heaters being placed too close to flammable materials and objects cause several fires and deaths a year so it is important to follow our heater advice.”

Heater advice to prevent fires

Following the aerosol explosion on Tuesday (September 19), the London Fire Brigade has issued advice on how to prevent fires from heaters.

  • Secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters.
  • Keep heaters away from clothes, curtains and furniture.
  • Sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair, especially if you fall asleep.

  • Always turn off your heater and allow it to cool before moving it.
  • Change gas heater cylinders in the open air, or open windows and doors if you have to change them indoors.
  • Store spare cylinders upright and outside, whenever possible. Never store them in basements, under stairs or in cupboards containing electric meters or equipment.

Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.

You can set up your app to see all the latest news and events from your area, plus receive push notifications for breaking news.

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android .

View full mobile page