The first female speaker of the House of Commons is warning about the dangers of electric fan heaters after one caused a fire in her Westminster flat last week.
Betty Boothroyd discovered flames coming from her kitchen on February 2 so immediately closed the kitchen door, got out of the building and dialled 999.
She was treated for smoke inhalation by paramedics but was not taken to hospital.
Two fire engines with 10 firefighters battled the fire to get it under control.
The Baroness was the speaker of the House of Commons from 1992 to 2000 and is the only female speaker to date.
The 85-year-old has now spoken out to warn people about leaving electric heaters alone. She said: “I am sharing my story to raise awareness of how dangerous portable electric fan heaters can be if they are left unattended.
“During the cold snap, lots of people will be relying on them for extra heat so please listen to the advice from London Fire Brigade. Never leave them unattended and ensure they are not too close to clothes, curtains or furniture.”
Charlie Pugsley, head of fire investigation praised the former West Bromwich MP for acting in the correct way, but added: “This incident is a timely reminder that portable electric heaters can be very dangerous and should never be left unattended or left on while you are asleep.
“A third of fatal electrical fires involve heaters and there have been 10 deaths in the last five winters. In this case, the likely cause is the heater over heating and catching fire. Another very common cause of fires are heaters being left too close from clothes, curtains or furniture.”