Huddersfield Town director Sean Jarvis spreads fire safety message after blaze at home

The commercial director of Huddersfield Town Football Club has personally thanked firefighters who attended his Southowram home after a freak blaze broke out.

Following the incident last week, Sean Jarvis is now helping West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) spread vital fire safety messages in the hope that together we can encourage a whole football stadium full of fans to test their smoke alarms!

The fire at Sean’s home started after hot water pipes from the central heating came into contact with a timber skateboard.

Sean’s nine-year-old son, Josh, raised the alarm after smelling smoke and fortunately the family also had working smoke alarms.

In the wake of the incident, Sean has reflected on how lucky they were that no-one was injured and the fire was stopped in its tracks.  

He said: “We have had a very, very lucky escape that the whole house did not go up.

“The firefighters did a first class job. They were very professional. They were great and took us through everything that had happened.

“I came into the office the next day and said to everyone ‘check your smoke alarms and if you don’t have one then get one in quick’.”

This week the crew who put out the fire was reunited with Sean and Josh, who was being looked after by his gran when the blaze broke out at around 1820 hrs on Monday, January 26.

Because of their fast actions dialling 999, crews from Brighouse, Halifax and Elland were quick on the scene and were able to contain the fire to the hallway of the house.

Fire investigators have since concluded that the cause was an extremely rare occurrence when a combustible item (the timber skateboard) has been in contact with a low temperature over a very long period of time.

Fire Investigator Mark Whitaker said: “It’s called pyrophoric action and is a rare thing, but it’s not impossible. It can be best described as the ignition of wood by long-term exposure to low temperatures, especially if the temperature varies, for example, around heating pipes.

“As in Sean’s case, a plywood skateboard was in direct contact with central heating pipes. The skateboard had been in that place for at least four years and was insulated by a large amount of storage placed around it.

“The temperature variation of the heating going on and off cooks the wood like charcoal and eventually if the combination is right it will go into a smouldering fire and then will ignite something.”

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service already has a partnership with Huddersfield Town Football Club, who have previously helped deliver fire safety messages to football fans during matches.

Sean said: “This incident has shown me how valuable this partnership is and how seriously we all need to take fire safety. You never think a fire is going to happen in your home and when it does it really takes you by surprise.

“If every football fan, and indeed everyone and anyone, can just take heed of my experience and go home today and test their smoke alarms to help protect their families, I would be delighted.”