One of the staples of local news reporting is the activities of the emergency services – police, ambulance, coastguard, fire service – and in this regard Bristol Live – formerly the Bristol (Evening) Post is no exception.

Yesterday’s online edition reported on the fire service’s attendance at a possible incident on Colston Street (soon to revert to its original name of Steep Street after the city’s Victorian great and good renamed it after a slave trader. Ed.).

However, once again the reporter’s poor English is disappointing to read.

In the second paragraph readers are informed that

The alarm was sounded after what was believed to be an electric fire in Colston Street at around 8.22pm.

Where was the said domestic appliance left? In the roadway? On the footway/pavement?

Clarification was helpfully supplied by the fire service, whose spokesperson commented as follows:

Upon investigation, the issue was determined to be under the pavement and originating from an area of recently excavated electrical works.

So the fire, if it ever existed in the first place, was electrical, not electric.

As an aid to passing hacks wishing to improve their vocabulary, there follows below a handy pictorial guide to the difference between the two. 😀

An electrical fire

An electrical fire. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Electric fire

An electric fire (aka electric heater). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.