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Faulty electrics blamed for two fires

Faulty electrics blamed for two fires

5 March 2015

Two families had to flee their homes within twelve hours of each other after fires in Rainham and Sittingbourne.

In the first incident, a bathroom extractor fan caught alight, quickly spreading to the roof area in Sandown Drive, Rainham. The resident was alerted just after 9.30pm on Wednesday, after hearing a loud bang. She went to investigate and discovered the fan had fallen from the ceiling into the bath below. She alerted her husband who initially tried to tackle the blaze using water from the shower with little success.

The couple and their young child got out of their home and called Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS). Three fire engines were sent to the semi-detached house, the first crew arrived within six minutes of receiving the 999 call.  

Medway Watch Manager, Paul Nash, said: "Many of us use the loft for storage and this family had a number of cardboard boxes and other items stored there which fuelled the fire. Fortunately, we were able to stop it spreading to the neighbouring property and limited the damage to the roof area, so it was a good outcome."

Crews in breathing apparatus used a hose reel and specialist cold-cutting firefighting system, which is able to cut its own access point to the fire using high pressure water and abrasive grit. Firefighters then removed the contents of the loft.

Faulty electrics on a cooker are thought to have sparked the second incident in Gore Court Road, Sittingbourne this morning. A woman heard a loud noise from the oven at around 8.20am, and then the cooker lights and timer went out. She tried to reset the switch on her fuse box and when she returned to her kitchen, she spotted smoke from under the plinth. She got out of the house with her daughter and teenage grandson and called KFRS.

Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the blaze, a thermal imaging camera to check for fire spread and a special fan to clear the smoke and fumes from the property.

Sittingbourne Watch Manager, Neil Ryder, said: "Two fridges, a double oven, worktop and cupboards were destroyed by the fire. The remainder of the kitchen, the utility room and conservatory had heavy smoke damage. The rest of the property had light smoke damage.

"Electrical fires are one of the biggest causes of accidental fires in people’s homes - it can happen to anyone so it’s really important that you make sure your electrics are in good working order, that you look out for warning signs and that electrical appliances are turned off when you are not using them - especially overnight.

"Working smoke alarms are a vital piece of life-saving equipment. Make sure you fit them on every floor and test them regularly. They will give you the early warning needed to fire in your home."

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