Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) was called to a fire in a two storey, terraced house in Valley Road, Gillingham last night (13 October). Fire crews were alerted to the blaze shortly after 9.30pm.
Three fire engines were sent to the scene, with the first crews arriving within minutes of receiving the 999 emergency call. A neighbour had already managed to assist the elderly resident, a man thought to be in his late 70’s with mobility issues, to safety.
Chatham Crew Manager, Kevin Chapman explained what happened: “This was a large, well developed fire in a first-floor rear bedroom. The pressure from the smoke had pushed into neighbouring properties, causing smoke-logging several houses down”
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the fire. They accessed the loft space from ladders and created holes in the bedroom ceiling, to enable a positive pressure ventilation fan to force the thick smoke out of the properties.
A thermal image camera (TIC) was used to check the loft spaces of several properties to check for hot spots and ensure there was no fire spread. After making good the holes, crews fitted working smoke alarms to three other homes.
The Red Cross Vehicle and Volunteer Response Team (VRT) also attended to assist with emotional and practical support.
The fire is believed to have been caused by a fault in an old electric heater and crews left the scene at around 12.15am.
Kevin added: “There are lots of things that can cause accidental fires within the home but if you smell burning, always phone 999. Our job is about keeping you safe and you won’t be wasting our time. We will scan your home using our special cameras to quickly see if there are any hotpots.
“I would also suggest regular inspections of electrical items for damage and deterioration. If it isn’t in good condition, don’t use it. For peace of mind for you and your home, get a registered electrician to check.”
KFRS want to make sure all homes in Kent and Medway have working smoke alarms - it's the best protection you can have against fire. That's why we offer free safety advice and services to everyone. Speak to one of our home safety advisors today - call freephone, or email us. All our services are free of charge.