A man who recently found 3 Selfac fire extinguishers in the loft of his house in Carberry Road, Inveresk, just outside Musselburgh, had to have his street cordoned off to safely allow for the removal of these hazardous antiques.

The Selfac extinguishers date back to the Second World War when they were widely distributed. This particular device was believed to have been made back in around 1941 and consisted of a cardboard container holding bicarbonate of soda and also a central explosive device.

This type of extinguisher was designed to be hung in the roof spaces of houses and worked at containing fires by dispersing a fire retardant powder over the flames after being triggered by intense heat.

After the discovery at his home the resident called the fire fighters. The officers then contacted police and the bomb disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps who proceeded by cordoning off the nearby area.

The incident was the second one within two days for the local authority with another extinguisher previously being handed in to a local police station the day before. It is thought that this may have raised local awareness of this Second World War device.

Selfac Fire extinguishers were made by FE Propriety Co Ltd of London. They were constructed out of materials such as copper, aluminium, iron, lead, paper, cardboard and plastic. They measured approximately 330mm x 180mm and weigh around 5.065kg. In a previous case, which saw a team of builders stumble across one during a house renovation, described the extinguisher as being about the size of a football.

The discovery of old fire extinguishers are not uncommon but they still pose a genuine risk of exploding due to the central explosive charge, this is why a bomb disposal team is needed as a necessary precaution. Selfac extinguishers are considered highly unstable and have the possibility of exploding.

The antique device is often held onto due to their historical value without the owner being fully aware of the risks associated with it. If they are moved or treated vigorously this can cause the material inside to suddenly combust.

It is thought that there may still be many more of these Selfac extinguishers out there in homes that date back to the 1940s, however in this case no one was injured and the three devices were destroyed safely.

To view our range of fire extinguishers please have a look at our Fire Extinguishers page and our services that we offer in and around Brighton.