A devastating house fire in Greenock, ignited by a budget tablet purchased online, has left a mum and her toddler homeless. Natalie McNeill's cautionary tale urges people to steer clear of cheap electronic devices.

19 January 2024

In an incident that unfolded on January 4th, 44-year-old Natalie McNeill from Greenock experienced a catastrophic fire in her home, triggered by a low-cost tablet purchased from the budget website Temu. McNeill, who was in her residence with her two-year-old daughter Melanie at the time, narrowly escaped the fire thanks to the courageous efforts of neighbours Jade and Linda.

The fire, believed to have originated from the Pritom Tablet acquired for £58 from Temu, swiftly engulfed McNeill's flat in Wren Road. Prompted by the alarming incident, she is now fervently warning others about the potential hazards of opting for budget electronic goods.

Recounting the traumatic events, McNeill described how she was downstairs removing her Christmas tree when the smoke alarm sounded, and crackling noises from upstairs raised the alarm. Quick thinking and a dramatic rescue by her neighbours were crucial in saving her and her daughter from the rapidly spreading flames.

Natalie suffered superficial burns to her hands and face during her attempts to control the fire, emphasising the severity of the situation. She acknowledges the pivotal role played by Linda in the rescue, stating, "She saved my life. I wouldn’t have gotten out if it wasn’t for her."

Despite the valiant efforts of firefighters, the fire resulted in the loss of McNeill's home and many cherished possessions. The Oak Tree Housing Association, which owns the property, has relocated her to new accommodation, while a fundraiser has been initiated to support the affected family.

In response to the incident, Temu has removed the implicated tablet from its listings and initiated an investigation. A spokesperson for Temu stated their dedication to consumer safety and commitment to addressing the issue comprehensively. Benton Technology Co, the tablet manufacturer, also pledged to conduct a transparent investigation into the matter, emphasising their dedication to keeping customers informed.

This unfortunate incident serves as a stark reminder for people to be cautious when considering budget electronic devices, underlining the critical importance of product safety in preventing potential fire hazards.

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