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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Firefighters Praise Elderly Man Following House Fire

20/12/2012

Firefighters have praised an 89-year-old man for his actions following a fire at his home on Brookhouse Close in Featherstone this morning.

"He did exactly what we want people to do in this situation – got out and stayed out."

Station Manager, Bob Preston

Crews from Cannock and Brewood were called to the house at 9.00am and on arrival found the man waiting outside with his pet dog, having safely evacuated himself.

Station Manager, Bob Preston said: “The man had been asleep in bed when smoke alarms in the property activated just before 9am this morning and woke him up. He immediately got up, went downstairs and straight out of the door with his dog.

“He did exactly what we want people to do in this situation – got out and stayed out. He didn’t waste time getting dressed or trying to investigate the fire himself, he was outside in his dressing gown straight away and asked a neighbour to call 999.

“The internal doors downstairs were closed, which we encourage as best practice in the home, as this actually helped to contain the fire meaning he wasn’t trapped upstairs. Had the doors been open, the fire would have rapidly spread and he could potentially have been trapped.”

The fire broke out in a fridge freezer and is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault. The kitchen and dining room have been destroyed and the rest of the property smoke logged. The man and his son, who also lives in the property but was not home at the time of the fire, will be unable to return to the property for some time.

Bob added: “It’s an awful thing to happen just before Christmas but the most important thing of course is that no one was injured. The man was checked over by paramedics at the scene but thanks to his speedy exit, he is absolutely fine.

“The smoke alarms without a doubt saved his life, as if they hadn’t woken him up smoke would have risen upstairs and quickly become fatal. We have walked the man down to a family member’s house nearby so he can stay safe and warm whilst our Emergency Damage Management team assess his property.

“We’d ask people to take note of this incident and not only ensure they have working smoke alarms by testing them weekly but also ensure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire.

“We can offer advice on escape plans during a free Home Fire Risk Check so if you haven’t had one call 0800 0241 999 to book one.”

Home Fire Risk Checks are open to everyone in Staffordshire however the elderly and vulnerable are prioritised.