A Maidstone resident has her smoke alarms to thank for alerting her to a fire in her home this morning (1 February).
Fifty-three-year-old Sharon Pollard was at home on the ground floor of her house in Middlesex Road when she heard her smoke alarms sounding.
She said: "Both alarms were going off, so I went to the bottom of the stairs and could see smoke coming from upstairs. I immediately shut the doors, then reached under the stairs to turn off the mains electrics to the house and dialled 999."
Two fire engines were sent to the scene at 11.29am.
Sharon said: "The firefighters arrived really quickly and they led me to the safety of the fire engine while they went in and dealt with the fire."
Crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to put out the fire and cleared smoke from the building using a positive pressure ventilation fan.
It is believed the fire was caused by an electric heater that was left on in the bedroom, where the occupant was drying clothing. It appears that the heater set fire to an electric carpet cleaner. The room sustained some light smoke damage.
Sharon said: "I was so grateful that the alarms alerted me to the fire - without them I dread to think what may have happened. My advice would be to make sure you have them fitted in your home and test them to check they are working."
Maidstone watch manager Chris Puxted said: "This incident highlights just how valuable working smoke alarms are in the unexpected event of a fire. With such early warning, we were able to reach the property and tackle the fire before it could cause severe damage, and fortunately the occupant was able to return in their home afterwards."
He added: "I would urge residents to take extra care if using portable heaters in their homes and to ensure that they are not placed too close to clothing or other household items."