Northern Ireland

West Belfast family's 'lucky escape' after air freshener explosion

destroyed air freshener
Image caption The destroyed remains of the automatic air freshener

A west Belfast man has spoken of his family's lucky escape, after an automatic air freshener exploded on top of a wood-burning stove.

The explosion happened in the living room of a house in the Lagmore area at about 23:00 GMT on Saturday.

A number of family members were in the house, including two children.

"I came home on Saturday evening, came in and lit the fire, it was very very cold," said the father, who didn't want to be named.

"Myself, my brothers and the wife were in the kitchen. Literally maybe 20, 30 minutes even, we just heard this almighty explosion.

"The kitchen window went in. I came into the living room and the whole, front window had been blew out."

The father said that they were sitting behind the door at the time and if somebody was beside the door they could have been blown "out the window with it".

Image caption The plastic casing scarred the top of the wood burner as it melted, then exploded

The two children, along with their mother, were upstairs when the explosion happened. They had left the living room minutes beforehand.

As they all ran downstairs to see what had happened, the mother fell down the stairs, suffering a pelvic injury.

"It blew open the door, but this is the amazing thing - there's not a pick of damage in the living room," said the father.

"There's mirrors, there's pictures, there's lamps, TV - not one bit of damage. Just the windows have been blown out. I just can't get my head around it."

Image caption The front window was blown out during the explosion

He added: "My gas box is in the living room.

"How that didn't explode - we just have to thank our lucky stars."

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has urged people to be vigilant and always store any aerosol canisters away from any naked flames or heat.

"When I lit the fire, I hadn't even realised it was even sitting on top of the fireplace," said the householder.

"It's been sitting throughout summer, that's the first time the fire has been lit in months.

"Hopefully, someone will learn something from us."

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