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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Woman injured after trying to rescue dog from house fire

29/11/17

Fletcher Road house fire
Fletcher Road house fire

A woman has been injured after a serious house fire in Stoke yesterday, Tuesday November 28.

“The most important message to take from this is if you find a fire in your home – get out and stay out, ring 999 and let us deal with it. I understand why the woman wanted to go in, to save her pets, but she was injured trying to do this and could have easily been killed. Sadly, her dog died in the fire and our thoughts are with her at this distressing time."

Station Manager Ruth Watchorn-Rice

Crews were called to the home on Fletcher Road at about 1.50pm and appliances attended from Hanley, Longton and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

When they arrived at the scene they found the ground floor was well alight. The occupant, a 75-year-old woman, was outside and had suffered with smoke inhalation. She was taken to Royal Stoke Hospital by ambulance and thankfully her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, however the woman’s pet dog died in the fire.

Following a fire investigation it’s believed the fire started in the kitchen accidentally when the woman was out shopping. She returned home to find the house on fire and tried to go in to recuse her pets but was overcome by heat and smoke. A passing motorist, a 65-year-old man, saw the blaze and the distressed woman trying to re-enter the house again. He stopped and prevented her from entering, and when she explained her dog was in the kitchen he forced the back door open, injuring his hand in the process. He was also taken to Royal Stoke Hospital for treatment.

Firefighters wore four breathing apparatus and used two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire, continuing to damp down until about 6.20pm. They also used Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV) to clear the home of smoke however it was left severely fire damaged and uninhabitable.

Damage to upstairs windows

An investigation into the cause of the fire has taken place and it is believed to have started accidentally in the kitchen.

Station Manager Ruth Watchorn-Rice said: “This was an extremely serious fire and we’re very thankful to the passing motorist who stopped the woman going back into the house as his actions prevented her suffering more serious injuries.

“The most important message to take from this is if you find a fire in your home – get out and stay out, ring 999 and let us deal with it. I understand why the woman wanted to go in, to save her pets, but she was injured trying to do this and could have easily been killed. Sadly, her dog died in the fire and our thoughts are with her at this distressing time.

“The home was so badly damaged we will never know the exact cause of the fire, however due to the pattern of fire spread we know it started in the kitchen and began in the oven or fridge. The oven was actually left on and is used regularly for heating purposes by the occupant, along with an electric fire/heater which was left on in the lounge.

“Now we’re seeing temperatures plummet it’s important to remind residents about heating their home safely. Never ever leave fires or heaters on when you’re out or asleep and make sure there are no flammable materials nearby – in this house we found heaters pushed up very close to bedding which was an additional fire risk.

“There were no working smoke alarms in this home so the incident also serves as a stark reminder of the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home. Alarms may have alerted someone to this fire much earlier and we could have got there before the fire had developed to the stage it had.

“Our prevent team will be working with the woman in the future to support her and give her fire prevention advice, so hopefully this never happens to her again.

“This fire also highlights our important SAME campaign – aimed at raising awareness that being a smoker, drinking alcohol, having limited mobility and being elderly are all factors that increase your risk of dying in a fire.

“If you or someone you know is affected by one or more of these factors please contact the Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999 as you/they may need to receive a Safe and Well visit.”