Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people of the dangers of leaving washing machines turned on when they are not home following a serious kitchen fire in Knypersley on Sunday.
"There really is no excuse not to have working smoke alarms, we will fit smoke alarms for free for anyone who doesn’t have them or the ones they do have do not work properly."
Station Manager, Ian Read
The occupier of the semi-detached bungalow on Newpool Road had gone out at around 11am, leaving the washing machine on. On his return at 6.25pm, the man opened the front door and saw smoke and so immediately called the fire service and remained outside.
One crew from Biddulph and one crew from Sandyford attended and used one hose reel jet to extinguish the fire which severely damaged the washing machine and left the rest of the property damaged by fire, heat and smoke.
Station Manager, Ian Read said: "The occupier had gone out and left his washing machine on which then caught fire following an electrical fault. There was no door separating the kitchen from the rest of the property and so the entire bungalow has been severely smoke damaged.
"The fire had been smouldering for some considerable time and had gone unnoticed due to the absence of the owner and the lack of working smoke alarms. The occupier stated he could not recall the last time he tested the alarm.
"Having a smoke alarm and not testing it to ensure it is working properly is as bad as not having one fitted at all – if it doesn’t work its useless. Thankfully this incident didn’t take place overnight whilst the occupier was asleep; otherwise we could have been looking at a very different outcome.
"There really is no excuse not to have working smoke alarms, we will fit smoke alarms for free for anyone who doesn’t have them or the ones they do have do not work properly.
"All that it takes is a free phone call to 0800 0241 999 and we will arrange to come and visit your property at a convenient time for you where we will check your smoke alarms and discuss any other potential fire hazards we spot in your home.
"We would also like to remind people once again not to leave appliances such as washing machines switched on whilst you’re not home or overnight."
The incident was closed at 8.25pm.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service launched its Push the Button campaign in October 2010 urging people to test their smoke alarms on a weekly basis. To accompany the campaign, the Sugababe’s song ‘Push the Button’ was re-written and produced a music video featuring Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service personnel and put it on YouTube, which to date, has had over 25,000 hits.