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Service pleads with residents to heed safety advice

March 21 2018

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to heed its safety advice after a fire in Stafford could have had a tragic outcome for an elderly couple.

The most concerning problem was that there were no working smoke alarms in the home as the couple had removed the batteries. If the alarms were working the residents would have been alerted to the fire a lot sooner. Please ensure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your property. If this gentleman hadn’t of happened to wake up in the night they could have slept through the fire and been overcome by carbon monoxide which can lead to death.

Fire Investigation Officer Paul Shaw

Crews from Gnosall and Stafford were called to Edithas Court Church Eaton at 2.51am on Wednesday March 21 after reports of a fire in the loft space of the property. 

The firefighters wore two breathing apparatus and used a hose reel jet to put the fire out which started next to the flue of the wood burner fire in the kitchen and left significant damage. 

The residents, a couple in their 80’s, had no working smoke alarms in the property and only discovered the fire when one of them happened to wake up and see the kitchen alight. They called the Service but remained in their home until a neighbour told them to leave. Both residents were treated by ambulance paramedics for smoke inhalation. 

Fire Investigation Officer Paul Shaw said: “There were a lot of factors in this incident which meant it could have had a far more tragic outcome. 

“The most concerning problem was that there were no working smoke alarms in the home as the couple had removed the batteries. If the alarms were working the residents would have been alerted to the fire a lot sooner. Please ensure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your property. If this gentleman hadn’t of happened to wake up in the night they could have slept through the fire and been overcome by carbon monoxide which can lead to death. 

“When the pair discovered the fire they called the Service straight away, however they stayed in the living room awaiting our arrival. They only left the property when a neighbour went in and got them out. If you discover a fire in your home get out and stay out. 

“The wood burner the couple were using for heat was also not installed correctly. The two wooden beams were too close to the joists causing them to overheat and the fire to begin. Always ensure log flues are installed correctly by a reputable person or company. 

“Finally the fact that the occupiers were elderly added to their vulnerability. One of them also had very limited mobility and as our SAME campaign highlights these two factors make residents more likely to die in a fire. Please check on elderly relatives or neighbours and ensure they are safe. If in doubt about a resident’s safety call our FREE Community Advice Team for more information on 0800 0241 999.”