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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Smoke Alarms Save Woman’s Life

19/07/2011

A woman has been rescued by firefighters from a house fire in the early hours of this morning, thanks to her smoke alarms.

"This incident highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms as they obviously alerted the woman who managed to get to a safe place away from the fire."

Station Manager, Mick Daniels

Crews from Newcastle, Hanley and Longton were alerted to the blaze at the end terrace property on Oxford Street in Penkhull at around 1.20am, after a man living seven doors down heard something bleeping and opened his front door to investigate.

He then saw a woman hanging out of a first floor window holding a dog and shouting for help. He immediately called 999 and tried to calm the woman down by talking to her and repeating safety advice which fire control were relaying to him over the phone. 

When firefighters arrived, a ladder was put in place to rescue the woman via the window and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus forced entry to the property.

Station Manager, Mick Daniels said: "The woman was obviously very frightened but was reluctant to step out onto the ladder. She was shut in a bedroom and was shielded from the fire so firefighters outside kept her calm whilst firefighters inside extinguished the fire in the kitchen.

"The fire involved a chip pan and it looks like the lady was preparing something to eat and had either become distracted or fallen asleep. This incident highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms as they obviously alerted the woman who managed to get to a safe place away from the fire and they also alerted the neighbour, who was some considerable distance away.

"Had there been no working smoke alarms in the property we would have been dealing with a much more serious incident. We would encourage people not to start cooking late at night as you’re more likely to be thinking about going to bed so it is even easier to become distracted or fall asleep."

The woman was taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation and firefighters left the scene at 3.07am.