AN 82-YR.-OLD WOMAN IN ENGLAND DIED RECENTLY as a result of her microwavable bed warmer bag catching on fire.
Used as an improved substitute for hot water bottles, the “Hottie” bag has been available for several years and has become a multi-million (dollar) seller for the Aroma Home UK firm. Instead of filling a rubber bag with scalding hot water to use as a warming device, the Hottie is filled and sealed with wheat and some additional herbs and oils, and is claimed to be beneficial to pain relief. They are heated up in the microwave oven and will stay hot for two hours or more.
The user is supposed to put a cup of water in the microwave at the same time so that the wheat doesn’t dry out over time. But failure to do this will eventually lead to overheating and this is apparently what happened to Doreen Ghiloni of Leeds one night.
After taking the bag to bed it started smouldering and caught the bedclothes on fire. With the aid of a neighbor, Mrs. Ghiloni was led safely out of her home without suffering any burns. But she died the next day of a heart attack that was induced by the heavy inhalation of smoke from the fire.
[photopress:leeds_a.jpg,full,centered] Doreen Ghiloni
The fire investigator for the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service says that their agency alone has had at least six wheat-bag incidents in the past year.
Doreen’s family has launched a campaign to bring this hazard to the public’s attention in order to help people prevent this from happening again.