Young family "lucky to survive" Wigan house fire blamed on a faulty fridge
A faulty fridge has been blamed for a house blaze which almost claimed the lives of a young Wigan family.
A boy of 11, girl of 14 and a woman in her 20s battled their way through thick, choking fumes to flee the fire which had started in the kitchen of their home in Pagefield Street, Gidlow.
A fire chief says that the three are lucky to have escaped and probably wouldn't have if they had not been alerted by an upstairs smoke alarm at 7am on Thursday January 13.
Wigan watch manager Carl Gleaves said that a second alarm downstairs would have prevented a lot of damage and spared the victims such trauma from smoke inhalation for which they were all treated.
And he also warned people to check white goods, especially ones of an older vintage.
A family of four live in the house but the man was at work. It is believed that the other three occupants were asleep when the alarm sounded and they opened their doors to find the house filling with smoke.
With an open plan lay-out downstairs, the fumes hadn't been prevented from spreading to the rest of the lower rooms and the woman and children had to escape down the staircase through the toxic smoke to get into the street.
Four firefighters using breathing apparatus and a hose reel went into the house to put out the flames which, by the time they arrived, had destroyed the kitchen.
A positive pressure ventilation machine was used to suck the smoke out of the rest of the property which is expected to be uninhabitable for several months.
Officers checked with adjoining properties which didn't suffer any damage but one of which was found not to have a smoke alarm at all.
Watch manager Gleaves said: "The occupants of the house are very lucky to have survived.
"Had it not been for a sole working smoke alarm upstairs we would have been dealing with an even more serious incident. As it was they had to run through pretty hefty, thick billowing smoke to get out.
"And the house has been very badly damaged. If there had been another alarm downstairs there is a likelihood that the incident would have been a much less serious one.
"As far as the cause is concerned, the fridge in the kitchen appears to be the source although at this stage exactly why is not clear. I would though ask people to be alert to white goods in their property and the age of them.
"And we cannot get the message home forcefully enough about the need for working smoke alarms. When we discovered one of the neighbours didn't have one at all, we immediately gave them some.
"We will also be going round that street later today giving out more advice."
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