We report here an experimental study of a round vertical liquid jet that, after achieving a self-preserving state, is subjected to volumetric heating between two diametral stations. The heat injection is achieved by applying a voltage across the stations, the jet fluid having been rendered electrically conducting by the addition of acid. Using laser-induced fluorescence, digital image processing and laser-Doppler anemometry, the flow properties of the jet have been studied in detail. It is found that, with sufficient heating, the jet no longer grows linearly with height, and the decay of both centreline velocity and turbulence intensity is arrested, and may even be reversed just beyond the zone of heat addition; nevertheless the entrainment decreases, which is at variance with the hypotheses often made for modelling it. This behaviour is here attributed to the disruptive influence that, as the present experiments show, the volumetric heating has on the large-scale vortical structures in the jet, which are known to be largely responsible for the engulfment of ambient fluid that is the first step in the entrainment process. It is shown that a new non-dimensional heat release number correlates the observed data on changes in jet width. An integral model that would describe the effect of local heating is proposed, and implications for cloud development in the atmosphere are discussed.