Residents are being asked to take extra care with open fires and heaters, after a fire in Deal this afternoon (Sunday).
Two fire engines from Deal and one from Eastry were sent to the semi-detached house in Forelands Square just after 3.30pm after the homeowner – a woman thought to be in her 70’s – discovered her fire had set light to her sofa.
The woman went to get water to try to tackle the blaze but by the time she returned to her lounge the fire was already well developed. She phoned Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s emergency control centre and while on the line, was overcome by smoke.
Firefighters were on the scene within minutes and crews in breathing apparatus rescued the woman, before extinguishing the blaze using two hose reels. She was given oxygen therapy by firefighters prior to being assessed by paramedics and then taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
Deal Watch Manager, Malcolm Cowie, said: "This incident highlights how vital it is to have working smoke alarms in your home and the importance of not trying to tackle a fire yourself.
"If you have an open fire, always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks and hot embers and make sure that the embers are properly out before you go out or go to bed. Keep all furniture and items that could catch alight at least three feet away from your fire."
It is unlikely that the woman will be able to return to her home before Christmas due to the damage to the ground floor and Malcolm added: "Particularly at this time of year I would encourage people to look out for older friends, neighbours and relatives as they are often more likely to feel the cold and be more reliant on portable heaters and open fires.
"Just pop in for a few minutes and test that their smoke alarms work as they can’t always do this themselves. They may need a specialist alarm if they are hard of hearing or partially sighted and we can provide the help and advice they need, just give us a call on 0800 923 7000 and help keep them safer this winter."