A Tamworth house could have been destroyed had a vigilant member of the public not spotted a fire in progress this morning.
"The two main smoke alarms in the key positions should have had batteries in them though – you should only ever remove the battery of a smoke alarm to replace it immediately with a new one."
Station Manager, Jim Bywater
Crews from Tamworth were alerted to a fire upstairs at a property on Medway Road in Belgrave at 10.50am this afternoon.
No one was believed to be in the house so firefighters wearing breathing apparatus had to force entry and began to tackle the fire using a hose reel jet.
Smoke alarms were fitted in the hallway and on the landing but had had the batteries removed.
Station Manager, Jim Bywater said: "The fire has destroyed the room it started in and was starting to spread onto the landing when we received the call.
"The occupiers were not home at the time however had this incident taken place during the night they may not have been as lucky as the smoke alarms did not work.
"We did find evidence of a smoke alarm in the room where the fire started however it had melted so we don’t know if this one was working or not. The two main smoke alarms in the key positions should have had batteries in them though – you should only ever remove the battery of a smoke alarm to replace it immediately with a new one."
A woman who lives in the house returned to the scene after being informed about the fire and an ambulance was called to treat her for shock.
A fire investigation then took place to establish the cause of the fire. Jim added: "We have established that this fire started accidentally and believe it to be the result of an electrical fault.
"We cannot stress enough the importance of working smoke alarms – had a member of the public not seen this fire and called it in this house could easily have been destroyed and had anyone been home at the time they could have been trapped or worse."
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will fit brand new smoke alarms free of charge in any home in Staffordshire which does not any, or the existing alarms do not work. Call 0800 0241 999 to book your free Home Fire Risk Check at a mutually convenient time and date.