News release text
Two friends are lucky to be alive this morning after a serious fire in a Dover flat.
Firefighters from Dover and Folkestone were called to a three-storey block of flats in Clarendon Street after a 999 call to Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) control room at 1.12am this morning (Thursday).
Crews were on the scene within four minutes of receiving the call and a breathing apparatus team went into the heavily smoke-logged, first floor flat. They used a thermal imaging camera to find the fire. The blaze was extinguished with a hosereel and a positive pressure ventilation fan was used to clear the property of smoke and fumes.
Dover Watch Manager, Jamie Muddle, said: “When we arrived, both men were outside and one was completely covered in black soot. We gave them oxygen therapy before they were taken to hospital by ambulance.”
The occupier of the flat was asleep in bed. It is believed that his friend, who had stayed overnight, had decided to have a last cigarette in the lounge before going to sleep. The friend told crews that he woke up feeling very hot. He managed to find his way out of the room, woke his friend and both men got out of the flat to safety.
Jamie added: “I can’t tell you how lucky these men were, the batteries had been removed from the smoke alarms, so had the man not woken when he did, it could have very easily ended in tragedy.
“There are two very important lessons to be learned from this fire, firstly never smoke in bed and secondly, always have working smoke alarms in your home to give you those precious extra minutes needed in the event of a fire..”
The flat was severely damaged by smoke and heat. Residents of neighbouring flats and a house had to be evacuated.
Smokers please consider making yourself safer by following these simple tips:
Don’t smoke in bed
Take extra care if you’re feeling tired, have been drinking alcohol or are taking prescription drugs
Don’t leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn, land on a carpet or newspaper and start a fire. When you put it out, make sure it really is out
Use a deep, heavy ashtray which can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn
Close all inside doors at night – closed doors help to reduce the spread of fire, giving you more time to escape
Keep lighters and matches out of reach of children
Fit smoke alarms in your home and test them weekly