Trapped couple have 'lucky escape' from house fire

Eskdale Road, Ashton

Eskdale Road, Ashton

An elderly couple lost their keys and were trapped as fire engulfed their Wigan home.

Three crews from Wigan and Hindley were called to the bungalow on Eskdale Road in Ashton just after 11.30pm on Friday night.

Watch manager Gareth Gray said the couple had left their cooker hob on which set a pan ablaze.

The occupants did not realise a fire had started because a smoke alarm in the house was not working.

The pair had to crawl to the front door and smashed a window in order to breathe clean air as they could not locate the door keys.

They eventually found the keys and were able to get out of the property as crews arrived.

Both were taken for hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. The man also suffered cuts to his hand from breaking the glass in the front door.

Watch manager Gray said: “There are a number of safety messages here for people to think about. This couple have been very lucky but it could have been much worse. Please think about your escape plan and in particular think about where you keep your keys. Would you be able to find them in an emergency?

“The couple did have smoke alarms in their home – but they were not working. Please, please, please test your smoke alarms every week. They are your first defence and will alert you to fire in your home allowing you as much time as possible to get out before the smoke becomes overwhelming – which it does incredibly quickly.”

The kitchen was completely destroyed as a result of the blaze.

Watch manager Gray added: “The smoke was becoming overwhelming. Luckily for them they had recently had some work done at the house and a builder had left a spanner close to the front door. They used it to break some of the glass at the front of the house and were able to take in some fresh air to survive while we arrived. I honestly believe that if it hadn’t been for that spanner they would have succumbed to the smoke.

“The couple had been watching the television in the living room and had heard some noises but thought they were coming from outside. The elderly man had gone out through the conservatory door to look at what they were. When he came back inside he found his kitchen completely engulfed in flames and when he opened the door an explosion occurred which sent glass shards flying through the air.”

For more home safety advice please see www.manchesterfire.gov.uk where an entire section is dedicated to keeping you safe. For a free safety check or Safe and Well Visit please call 0800 555 815.