“Make sure you have working smoke alarms and make a fire escape plan” is the appeal from Tunbridge Wells firefighters, who have been out and about urging local residents to keep safe after two fires - in the same street - in just three days.
On Sunday evening (29 March) crews were called to a fire in a basement flat in Camden Road after the owners of a shop above the property noticed smoke filtering up into their premises.
The fire is thought to have been started by an electrical fault in a battery unit. Heat and smoke from the blaze caused severe damage to the property. The occupant, who was not in at the time, returned to the property and breathed in toxic smoke when he went inside to try to tackle to fire.
Watch Manager Mark Havell said: “On this occasion, although a smoke alarm was fitted in the property, it did not raise the alarm because the battery had been removed. We would urge residents not to underestimate the effects of fire smoke, and to never risk their lives by returning to their property in the event of a fire.
This incident follows another flat fire at a three-storey property in Camden Rad, just three days before on Friday 27 March. On this occasion a working smoke alarm alerted a neighbour to the fire and they raised the alarm immediately.
On arrival crews discovered a well-developed fire in the kitchen of the flat. Firefighters used breathing apparatus and a hose reel to extinguish the blaze, which is thought to have been caused by unattended cooking. They also used a ventilation fan to clear the property of smoke.
Watch Manager Havell said: “Fortunately no one was injured, however we are reminding all residents to take extra care in the kitchen, ensuring cooking is not left unattended, even for a short time and that all appliances are switched off after use.
“These incidents highlight just how essential it is to have working smoke alarms fitted on each floor of your home and that they are tested regularly – they have the potential to save your life.”
For free fire safety advice and to find out if you’re eligible for a free home safety visit by Kent Fire and Rescue Service please call 0800 923 7000 or visit www.kent.fire-uk.org.