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Working smoke alarms mean family escape fire


Date: 15th March, 2018

A Bournemouth family escaped a potentially serious fire last night (14 March) because they had working smoke alarms.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to a house in Chaldecott Gardens, East Howe at 8.44pm after a fire on the first floor was reported. Three fire crews attended, from Westbourne, Springbourne and Redhill Park, and two breathing apparatus wearers used one hose reel jet to tackle the flames. British Red Cross emergency response volunteers, based at Springbourne fire station, also attended to support the affected family.

A dressing gown hanging on the back of a bedroom door had been set alight by a candle that had been left burning. The occupants of the house tried to extinguish the fire themselves before leaving the property safely.

Station Manager Stuart Granger said: “Although the candle was in a proper container and on a safe surface, when the bedroom door was opened, it led to the dressing gown making contact with the flame and catching fire. The family were downstairs and were alerted to the danger by their smoke alarm. When they realised that they couldn’t put out the fire, they did the right thing in closing the bedroom door and leaving the house. Doing this contained the damage to the one room.”

Mr Granger added: “Had this family not had working smoke alarms, the outcome could have been far worse. Instead of having one room needing a clean-up, they could have lost everything and potentially been in danger themselves. This fire goes to show that it is never safe to leave candles burning when you’re not in the room. I would strongly recommend the use of LED candles instead, they give the same visual effect but don’t carry the risk.”

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service offers free Safe & Well advice to local residents, and those who qualify can receive a home visit from a Safe & Well advisor, which can include the fitting of smoke alarms where appropriate. To apply, call 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk

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