Video: Watch out for potentially deadly sofas being sold door to door

ILLEGAL sofas, which could easily catch fire and fill homes with toxic smoke, are being sold door to door in Hertfordshire. A number of sofas have been seized by the police and tested by Trading Standards which found that they did not comply with importan

ILLEGAL sofas, which could easily catch fire and fill homes with toxic smoke, are being sold door to door in Hertfordshire.

A number of sofas have been seized by the police and tested by Trading Standards which found that they did not comply with important fire regulations.

One of the sofas was set alight in a safety demonstration by Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards, to highlight the dangers of buying from doorstep traders.

The demonstration was set up to show how easily the sofas can catch light and how quickly they would burn, releasing poisonous fumes into the rest of the property.


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A lit cigarette was placed between the sofa cushions to show how most sofa fires start.

The cigarette burned through to the foam filling, which did not comply with fire safety regulations, and as a result the fire quickly took hold.

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Firefighters on standby were called in to extinguish the flames. The demonstration was carried out by Dave Stokes, station commander and fire investigator for the service, in a controlled environment at Longfield Training Centre in Stevenage.

Mr Stokes said: "This is a major concern for the fire and rescue service that these sofas are being sold and are in people's homes. Even if the sofa has a tag saying it complies with regulations, it doesn't necessarily mean that it does. If you buy one of these sofas you are putting your life and your family's life at risk."

Jaqui Trotman from Trading Standards said: "This demonstration is to highlight the dangers of buying furniture from traders on your doorstep and from traders you don't recognise. These regulations are in place for a reason. Generally, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Keith Emsall, county council executive member for community safety, emphasised: "Buying one of these sofas has potentially deadly consequences - you may think you are getting a bargain, but you could be paying with your life."

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service offers home fire safety checks, during which firefighters provide invaluable fire safety advice tailored to the property, as well as fitting free smoke alarms where needed.

For more safety advice, call fire safety experts on 0300 123 4048.

Anyone who would like a home safety check can call Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's freephone number on 0800 5873347 and arrange an appointment.

All safety checks are carried out by uniformed personnel who will show an official ID card and always use an agreed password.

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