Smoke alarm saves Staplehurst woman

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Smoke alarm saves Staplehurst woman

Posted: 30/07/2008 00:56:03

A working smoke alarm has yet again averted a potential tragedy when a fire broke out in a Staplehurst home, trapping the occupant inside.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to the house fire in Headcorn Road on Saturday (July 26) just before 3.30am after the homeowner was alerted to the fire by the smoke alarm sounding.

The fire, thought to be caused by an electrical fault in an outbuilding, spread to the home and by the time fire crews arrived, was well developed and had trapped the only occupant - Victoria Feakes - inside the first floor bedroom. Retained firefighters from Marden and Headcorn were the first on the scene and quickly got to work, pitching an extension ladder against the house to rescue her.

Marden Watch Manager Les Chappell, who attended the fire, said: “Victoria owes her life to that smoke alarm – it woke her up, alerted her to the fire, gave her enough time to dial 999 and gave fire crews the vital minutes needed to carry out a rescue before the fire took hold of the property. I would dread to think what could off happened if it hadn’t sounded, or worse still, if the home hadn’t been fitted with a smoke alarm - the fire could have developed undetected and could have had far more serious consequences.”

Despite firefighters best efforts, the fire spread to the adjoining property through a communal roof void, and so support crews from Maidstone and Cranbrook were sent to the scene. At its height, twenty firefighters attended the blaze.

Thanks to some aggressive firefighting, crews prevented any further fire spread, but as a precaution evacuated neighbouring properties.

Les added: “We hope that this example is a salient reminder to all Kent homeowners that smoke alarms do save lives. We urge everyone to have at least one smoke alarm fitted on every floor of their homes and if you do, make sure it works so that they can do their job when you need them to.”

Victoria was safely rescued from the fire shaken, but unhurt.

As is routine after any incident on this type, fire crews are visiting the local area to issue advice and offer free home fire safety checks to the community. The checks take about 30 minutes and include the fitting, where necessary, of a free ten-year smoke alarm. If you are interested in this free service please contact your nearest station or the Community Safety Team for free on 0800 923 7000 or you can visit our website www.kent.fire-uk.org| for more fire safety tips.

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