FIREFIGHTERS are asking people to check their electrical items are safe after they spent several hours at a kitchen showroom in Besses when a late-night blaze broke out.

Fire officers were called to a two-storey shop - Athena Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms, in Bury Old Road, at 10.30pm yesterday.

Watch Manager Mike Barrett, of Whitefield Fire Station, said: “The ground floor of the shop was well alight and full of smoke when we got there so firefighters in breathing apparatus went in at both the front and back to tackle it.

“A passer-by saw smoke inside the showroom and called 999, and the owner had been told about the fire so met us with the keys so we could get in easier.

“Crews worked hard in very hot conditions to tackle the fire, and through the night relief crews came to turn over all of the burnt material to ensure the fire was out.”

A Fire Service spokesman said the most likely cause of the fire is thought to be an electric heater in the office of the showroom.

Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr David Acton, said: “Electrical appliances, such as portable heaters, should be maintained and never left plugged in for long amounts of time.

“In the run up to Christmas can we remind people, especially businesses who shut down over the festive period, to check that appliances are in good working order and not leave them plugged in at the end of the day.

“Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, and we recommend people use strip adaptors instead of blocks.

“If there is an electrical fire, and it is safe to do so, then pull out the plug or switch off the power at the fuse box.

“Never use water on an electrical fire and never take risks when it comes to safety - get out, stay out and call 999.”