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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Firefighters rescue woman from flat fire

17/02/2014

Firefighters have rescued an elderly lady who became trapped in her flat when a blaze broke out in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"This was an extremely lucky escape and if it were not for the fact that the lady had a working smoke alarm and was given fire survival advice by the control room operator, the outcome could have been very different." 

Station Manager Dermot Hogan

The woman was alerted to the fire when her smoke alarm, which had been fitted by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, was activated at around 1am.

The occupant immediately reported the incident but was unable to escape from the ground floor apartment at Targate Court, Armitage, because she couldn’t find her keys.

However, a member of the control room team gave potentially life-saving advice. The woman was instructed to go to her bedroom, shut the door and wedge clothes tightly up against it. She was also advised to open the window and allow fresh air into the room.

Two crews from Lichfield and one from Rugeley forced entry into the flat and used four breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets to put the fire out before leading the woman to safety. She was given Oxygen therapy at the scene and taken to hospital by ambulance.

Firefighters left the scene at 4.25am. The cause of the blaze is believed to have been an electrical fault in the fuse box which was located next to the front door.

Station Manager Dermot Hogan, who carried out the fire investigation, said: "This was an extremely lucky escape and if it were not for the fact that the lady had a working smoke alarm and was given fire survival advice by the control room operator, the outcome could have been very different.

"This incident proves without a shadow of a doubt that it is absolutely vital to have smoke detectors fitted and to ensure that they are active by checking them on a regular basis – they could end up saving your life. It is also very important to know exactly where your keys are when you go to bed so that you can make a quick escape if an emergency occurs.

"I would urge anyone who is concerned about fire safety to book a free Home Fire Risk Check. Crew members or technicians will visit you in your home, check to see if your smoke alarms are working and, if they are not, they will fit you a new one.

"They also talk people through possible escape routes and check for potential hazards. To book call Freephone 0800 0241 999, text 07528 983101 or visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp."