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''How safe is your portable charger?'' ask firefighters

''How safe is your portable charger?'' ask firefighters

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22 July 2016

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is asking residents across the county to make sure that their families are not placed at risk after a charger is believed to have destroyed a home in Rainham overnight.

Fire crews from Rainham and Chatham were alerted to the blaze just before 1am this morning (Friday) and were quickly on the scene. They arrived to a well developed fire on the ground and first floor. Two additional fire engines from Sittingbourne and Rochester were also despatched. 

Chatham Watch Manager, Tony Fox, said: "The man told us his wife had gone to bed about 10pm and he had followed around midnight. They were woken close to 1am by their smoke alarm and went to investigate. The woman opened the lounge door and was knocked over by the sheer heat from the blaze. They immediately closed the door on the fire and rushed upstairs to bring their three young children to safety, escaping via their back door due to the severity of the fire. 

"The woman told us that she had covered her daughter completely as she carried her out of their home as the heat and smoke was so severe. The father brought the two boys out of their home and the whole family were treated by ambulance crews for the effects of breathing in smoke before being taken to hospital for precautionary checks. 

"Fortunately the couple’s quick thinking and their working smoke alarms averted what could have been a tragedy. Sadly their home and belongings are gutted but thankfully they are all safe." 

Firefighters worked exceptionally hard for three and a half hours to bring the blaze under control with breathing apparatus teams fighting the blaze from the front and back of the house using hose reels.  

Once they had successfully knocked the fire back, a breathing apparatus team went into the mid-terraced house and used fog spike in the loft area. This is highly effective for firefighting in confined difficult to access areas such as roof spaces/tiles and attics. It’s like a sprinkler system, suppressing the heat and preventing it from spreading to neighbouring properties by dramatically reducing the temperature and creating a fire break between the shared roof voids. 

The fire is believed to have started from a charging device in the lounge at the front of the house.

The family are believed to be staying with relatives.

Tony ended: "There are some important safety messages to come from this incident:

  • Please turn all chargers and electrical appliances off before you leave your home or go to bed at night and close internal doors

  • Only use genuine chargers, they may cost more but you’re buying peace of mind 

  • Have an escape plan that everyone in your home knows and practice it from different areas such as the bedrooms, kitchen, etc., so that your family knows what to do in the event of a fire

  • Working smoke alarms are the real hero in your home – they can and do save lives, fit them on every floor of your home and test them regularly."

Firefighters will be visiting neighbouring properties giving out fire safety advice but you can play an an active role in keeping your home and family safe from fire. Read our advice or on phone us free from landlines.

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