Smoke alarm plea as couple escape blaze

Wigan fire chiefs have issued a plea for homeowners to have their smoke alarms checked after a kitchen was destroyed in a house blaze.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:35 pm
The aftermath of a house fire at Eskdale Road in Ashton last weekend

The flue of a log burning stove caught fire at a property on Spring Road in Kitt Green just before midnight on Tuesday.

The elderly owners, who were in bed as the blaze started, were alerted to the emergency because their smoke alarms were working.

This follows on from an incident at the weekend when a couple, also in their 70s, had a “lucky escape” from a cooker fire in their Ashton home when their smoke alarms were not functioning.

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Watch manager Shaun Aspey told the Evening Post: “This couple did have working smoke alarms, thankfully, so they were lucky and were able to get out of the property before we arrived.

“Without them it could have been a lot worse especially as they had gone to bed and would have not have been aware there was a fire if not for the alarms.”

Two crews from Wigan and one from Skelmersdale doused the flames which left the kitchen of the house completely destroyed.

Watch manager Aspey said the stove flue set fire to a roof joist and officers had to cut away a section of the kitchen ceiling as a safety measure.

He added: “There’s two safety messages here; one to have your smoke alarms regularly checked to make sure they are working properly and the other, if you do have a wood burning stove, to ensure it is maintained and checked by an engineer.”

The Kitt Green incident followed the near catastrophe in Ashton when the couple without working smoke alarms were trapped in their house because they had lost their keys.

The pair used a spanner to break a window in order to breathe after a cooker hob had been left on which sparked the blaze. This led to a similar safety warning from watch manager Gareth Gray, he said: “The couple did have smoke alarms in their home – but they were not working. 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.

“They 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? For a free safety check or Safe and Well Visit please call 0800 555 815.