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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Couple Rescued From Pub Blaze

22/02/2010

Firefighters rescued the tenants of a Brewood pub after a blaze trapped them on the first floor of the building.

Fire officers say as the property had no working smoke alarms, the couple could have died had they not been woken by their pet dog's barking.

"It was the dog who woke them up. If he hadn’t started barking we may very well be dealing with a much more serious incident."

Station Manager, Alan Bateman

The drama unfolded at The Royal Oak on Ivetsey Road in Bishops Wood at 2.12am today.

One appliance from Brewood and one from Codsall were supported by a crew from Shropshire. On arrival firefighters discovered the man and woman sitting on a first floor window ledge with their pet dog.

The fire, which started in a tumble dryer on the ground floor, had blocked the couple's exit route, trapping them in a bedroom as it had spread to the staircase. After pulling them to safety using a short extension ladder, six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled and extinguished the blaze using three hose reel jets.

Station Manager, Alan Bateman, said: "The crew from Brewood acted very swiftly in safely rescuing the couple and the dog.

"Credit also goes to the staff in Control who were in contact with the woman on her mobile phone as firefighters made their way to the scene, keeping her calm and advising her on what to do.

"They also did an excellent job of directing and informing fire crews as they made their journey to the scene."

Explaining the cause of the fire, Alan said the couple, who were treated at the scene for the effects of smoke inhalation, were lucky to survive the ordeal.

"They had got into the habit of of putting the bar towels into the tumble dryer last thing at night and going to bed," he said.

"On this occasion fluff and debris had collected in the machine and as it was operating a fire started. This is known to be a common cause of fires involving tumble dryers.

"It was the dog who woke them up. If he hadn't started barking we may very well be dealing with a much more serious incident.

"The kitchen runs through to the living room which is where the staircase is. The fire had spread from the kitchen to the lounge and reached the stairs, effectively trapping them.

"There are three crucial points to what happened here. First of all, people should never go to bed and leave a tumble dryer on.

"Appliances like this must be used when there are people around to make sure it is working and to keep an eye on it until it stops its cycle.

"Secondly, in this day and age I can’t understand why any property would not have a smoke alarm fitted. All people have to do is ring Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and we will fit one for free. A smoke alarm is a life saving device.

"And finally, people who do have a smoke alarm should test it weekly. Don’t leave things to chance."

Following the fire at the Royal Oak, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service fitted two smoke alarms to the property. As a result of the fire the pub’s kitchen suffered moderate damage with the living area and stairs affected by smoke.

The couple who were treated by ambulance paramedics at the scene, did not attend hospital. After ventilation of the property had taken place, they returned to it.