WINCHESTER fire-fighters are urging people to take greater care with electronic cigarettes.

It comes after a fire in an office in Church Green Close, Kings Worthy.

Watch Manager Sean Gray said more people are buying the devices online which are not always genuine.

He said: “It’s on the increase now up and down the country, and sometimes they are not a genuine piece of equipment. People get things offline.

“The fire was contained, and was caused by an electronic cigarette on the desk, plugged into a laptop charging. There was a mini explosion with the battery and it caused damage to the mouse and mouse mat, and they had to evacuate which lost them some time.”

The E-cigarettes use a replaceable cartridge or require refillable liquid, and each brand has their own specific charger which Mr Gray said people should not mix up.

“You must use the correct chargers and refrain from over-tightening the screwed connection to the rechargeable battery. You shouldn’t “over charge” e-cigarettes, as unlike most mobile phones, many lithium-ion batteries within e-cigarettes do not have any protection to stop the coil overheating, which can lead to the battery exploding. Do not leave them unattended whilst on charge.”

One appliance attended the scene, and nobody was injured.