Couple have lucky escape as eBay purchase caused ‘fireball’ to erupt outside home

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A couple has issued a warning to the public after they made an eBay purchase which saw a “fireball” erupt from their home. Sharon and Ray Baines purchased a new gas heater from the online website in a bid to cut down their energy bills.

The pair were forced to take quick action to move their new heater out of their house before it exploded “like a bomb”.

As a result of their fast thinking, the couple were able to limit the damage to their property in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent.

However, firefighters who responded to the incident at the property said if they had not moved the heater, it may have “taken the roof off”.

The heater became too hot on Tuesday morning while Ray, 68, was walking the dog.

He decided to turn on the new stove to warm up the house for Sharon but when he returned at around 7.30am, the flames were much higher than they should have been.

Ray dragged their new purchase into the garden and grabbed a hose in an effort to douse the flames.

The pair called the fire brigade and made their neighbours aware of the situation but the propane canister then exploded outside the house.

The explosion occurred with bystanders just meters away, which was captured on CCTV as a fireball erupted into the air.

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“We were all at the front and there was a massive explosion. A fireball came over the top of the house.

“There was metal from the fire, it ended up at the front of the house. The fire service said if it had been indoors, it would have taken the roof off. We were very lucky.”

The damage to their property means the couple needs three new windows, new fence panels and a new back door.

The couple is now warning others about ordering similar heaters from eBay after they paid £109.99 for the appliance in a bid to cut down energy bills.

They said: “We’re getting £400 or £500 bills; we only switch on the central heating when we go to have a bath. We haven’t had that on the bills are still coming in.”