A WIGAN couple’s lives were saved when a smoke alarm fitted by fire crews just a few weeks ago woke them up after a blaze started in their flat.
The pair were woken in the early hours of yesterday morning to find their flat filling with a thick poisonous smoke and a fire in the kitchen.
They immediately got out of the building, on Gathurst Lane, Shevington, and called the fire brigade at about 3am which, after putting the fire out, discovered the smoke alarm in the flat was one that they had fitted recently.
Crew Commander Simon Connor said: “Once we had extinguished the fire we noticed that it was one of our smoke alarms that had woken them and effectively saved their lives.
“The fire was quite small but the kitchen was full of thick black smoke from the plastic fuse box where it started and it was starting to spread to the rest of the flat.
“The nature of the fire meant that it would have spread very quickly and the smoke that comes off plastic is extremely thick and toxic and had the couple not had a smoke alarm they could easily have died before they even woke up.”
The couple got in touch with the fire brigade to have a free Home Fire Risk Assessment, which sees fire crews visit homes offering advice, free fitting of smoke alarms and going through the best possible escape route in case of a fire.
Crew Commander Connor is now urging others to follow in the couple’s footsteps and have a Home Fire Risk Assessment, even if they already have a smoke alarm.
He said: “This incident just goes to show exactly how important this scheme we offer is and the reality is that it could save your life.
“Even if you already have a smoke alarm that doesn’t matter, we can still offer you all sorts of advice and in many cases smoke alarms are fitted in the wrong places and may be ineffective, so we can assess that too.
“Some people fit them on the walls rather than the ceilings and there are also cases where they are too close to the wall, which can mean smoke may not get to them.
“Because we had gone through what to do in the event of a fire with this couple they knew exactly what they had to do, they got out of the flat straight away and called us from outside.”
For your free Home Fire Risk Assessment call 0800 555 815.
The couple were not injured.