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29 August 2014 - Smoke alarms prove their worth after overnight kitchen fire

Smoke alarms prove their worth after overnight kitchen fire

Two people had a lucky escape after a chip pan overheated and caught alight in a Chatham flat overnight.

Firefighters were called to the blaze by the resident just before 12.20am and were on the scene within minutes of receiving the 999 call. The residents, a woman thought to be in her 50’s and her grown up son had managed to make it to safety.

Medway Watch Manager, Tony Fox, said: “The woman told us that she had left the frying pan cooking for a matter of minutes, when she heard her smoke alarm sounding. She went back to the kitchen and managed to turn the power off at the mains before the intense heat from the fire blew the kitchen window out, at which point she and her son left their home but the woman did go back in to search for their three cats.

“In a fire, time is critical – don’t search for pets or valuables – just get out and leave the search and rescue to us. Cats are clever animals and will usually manage to find a quick escape route before you do as happened with these pets, who were all found safe and well. This incident once again highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home, they really are invaluable and without them this fire would undoubtedly have been far more serious.”

Six fire engines and 30 firefighters were called to the property and brought the blaze in an upstairs flat under control within 20 minutes. Crews wearing breathing apparatus used hose reels to put the fire out. Residents from neighbouring properties were also evacuated as a precaution.

The kitchen was destroyed by the blaze and the rest of the flat was heavily smoke logged and damaged by heat. Crews used a special fan to clear smoke and fumes from the property.

The woman was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation.

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