A MAN cheated death after he was overcome by smoke from a fire at his Wigan home.
The 44-year-old was found unconscious in the lounge of his flat on Beaumont Grove, in Kitt Green, by firefighters at around 1am yesterday.
A diligent neighbour had alerted the emergency services on hearing the smoke alarm which saved his life.
He was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and taken to Wigan Infirmary but his injuries aren’t thought to be life-threatening and he was discharged later the same day.
The tenant had lived there about six months and one resident said: “There are a lot of elderly and disabled residents living around here and any fire could be dangerous for them too.”
Firefighters discovered that the fire originated from a microwave in the kitchen. It was destroyed and caused smoke damage to the rest of the flat. Crews from Wigan and Hindley used breathing apparatus, a hose reel and ventilation fan, to rescue the man who was located in the lounge. They quickly put out the fire in the kitchen.
Watch manager Martin Smith said: “This man was very lucky indeed, if it wasn’t for the quick actions of his neighbour he could have died.
“Our firefighters did a fantastic job to locate and rescue him and quickly put out the fire.”
Residents were woken by the lights from the fire engines in the early hours.
Neighbour Roy Ward said: “My wife, Jean, woke up with a start first with the flashing lights, it was quite a shock as we didn’t know what was happening or how severe the fire was.
“There was smoke billowing out of the premises. I can’t believe there was that much smoke just from a microwave.”
Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Coun David Acton said: “Thankfully this man had a lucky escape. A working smoke alarm can save your life.
“Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service carries out free Home Safety Checks that can include fitting free smoke alarms.
“I would urge everyone to take care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.”
This comes in a week when firefighters are urging Wigan residents to look out for the elderly this Christmas and to make sure smoke alarms are tested.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) crews have joined forces with Wigan Council and the NHS after a 90-year-old man died at his home in Standish in October after his clothes caught alight from a gas fire. .
Borough manager Steve Sheridan said: “Working smoke alarms really do save lives so we’d like people to take time out this winter to look in on an elderly neighbour or friend. Please make sure older friends and relatives have smoke alarms and check once a week that they are working.”
The NHS says 31,000 people died last year as a result of the cold weather.
Wigan Council’s social care team visit older residents to make sure they are warm and are keeping well in their communities but also remind them to check their smoke alarms.
Laura Newton from Wigan Council’s Social Care team said: “As we visit older people in their homes we’ll be looking out for them and making sure they have a working smoke alarm. But we also want people to pledge to look out for an older person in this way, look after older neighbours, friends and family because it’s something we can all do this winter. Encourage people to contact GMFRS on the free-phone number for a Home Safety Check.”
To book a Safety Check or are concerned about fire safety contact 0800 555 815.