A WOMAN whose sunbed burst into flames says she fears she could have died had she spent another five minutes under its rays.
Christine Bradley, 56, had only taken delivery of the vertical sunbed to her home in Wynnstay Gardens, off Hartlepool’s Chester Road, a day before she decided to try it out to top up her pre-holiday tan.
But she instinctively knew something was not right when she could only handle the heat for 15 minutes, rather than the half hour she planned, and got up.
But just five minutes later, the sunbed, in her spare bedroom, started to smoke and was then engulfed by flames.
Bosses at Stranton Fire Station, which sent two appliances to the scene, say Christine has been very “lucky”.
Christine, who works at the Costcutter store at the end of her street, said: “I was shocked.
“If I had been on five minutes later I would have been dead – I would not have got out.
“I can’t believe how lucky I am.
“Five more minutes and I dread to think what could have happened.”
Christine fled her home in just her dressing gown, shutting the bedroom door behind her – subsequently limiting the damage, say fire chiefs – before running to a neighbour’s, who dialled 999 following the incident, around 4pm on Saturday.
She said she had planned to have a bath after using the sunbed, but was distracted when the phone rang.
Christine, mum to Krissy, 26, said: “I only got it delivered on Friday.
“It was five minutes between getting off and smelling smoke.
“Normally they take time to warm up, but this one didn’t and I thought ‘this is too hot’, so I got off.”
Christine was on the phone to her son, telling him about how hot the sunbed was, when she smelled smoke.
“I went to get a towel, but the next thing, I looked up and flames were coming from the top of it,” she said.
Christine, who thanked firefighters for their swift response, said the fire has caused at least £1,000 of damage to clothes which were stored in the room, as well as a TV, carpets, wallpaper, blinds and a window.
She was also left without electricity and had to sleep at a friend’s on Saturday night.