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Basement fire risk

(7 Posts)
ftm123 Fri 29-Jan-16 17:38:55

Hi Mumsnetters,

Does anyone know if it is a fire risk to keep a basement completely jammed full of stuff (including wood, paperwork and other flammable items). The basement in question has electricity (lights and sockets) and ventilation to the outside, as well as damp.

My gut is that this is pretty risky, but I need some evidence to back it up. So am interested if
a) people agree with me
b) anyone knows any links or other sources which can help evidence this.

Many thanks

herethereandeverywhere Fri 29-Jan-16 18:15:42

Fire safety is usually assessed more along the lines of whether it is shut off by fire doors/whether the escape route is made/covered with fire-retardant materials/ whether there's working smoke alarms/ whether the electrics and gas meet all current safety standards. The materials stored may be relevant if eg: they were covering up the boiler with papers.

What someone chooses to store in a place is not usually relevant unless it is chemicals that can spontaneously combust (eg: linseed oil) certain batteries, pressurised containers, cannister gas - universally known 'dangerous goods'.

ABetaDad1 Fri 29-Jan-16 18:22:48

Your bigger risk is dry rot.

Wood and paper stored long term in a damp basement will be a perfect breeding ground for spores, death watch beetle, wood worm and every other type of wood rotting and boring pest.

Our builder who converted our basement told us that is often a source of many problems in old houses. We had our basement cleared as soon as we bought the house, temporarily stored some wood and other objects but had it treated for dry rot before tanking it out.

Drquin Fri 29-Jan-16 19:03:04

Well, yes there's a risk of fire ...... There's a risk of fire anywhere the elements of the fire triangle (oxygen, fuel and heat) combine.

Whether it's a "big" risk, I.e. Considering the severity and likelihood (which are what gives you "risk"), is the real question.

If you can address the severity or likelihood of something happening, then you've reduced the risk.
If you don't, arguably you're increasing the risk.
So, it may well be an acceptable risk to store such items in that basement ..... If, for example, you check it "regularly" such that even if fire took hold, the severity might be "low".
Or, if you have no obvious heat sources, then you've reduced the likelihood of fire taking hold.

The risk always remains ..... Depends how much of one is acceptable.

Are you at work, in the UK? If so, have a look at for guidance on fire risk assessments.

ftm123 Fri 29-Jan-16 21:38:59

Thanks guys.

PseudoBadger Fri 29-Jan-16 22:30:22

Also potential for pest harbourage

Qwebec Sat 30-Jan-16 01:37:26

Most people I know who have unfinished basements use it for storage, and it is generally packed (houses w/o basements are rare here)
I never heard of a fire starting there.

Water damage on the other hand are quite frequent.

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