News release text
A young Chatham family and a pregnant woman narrowly escaped disaster after smoke alarms failed when a deep fat-fryer caught light.
The group were celebrating a friend’s birthday in the back garden when the fire broke out in the two-storey terraced house in Ingle Road just before 7pm last night (Wednesday).
The couple were enjoying a barbecue with their three-year-old son and friends, while their eighteen-month-old son slept upstairs.They had forgotten their deep-fat fryer was still switched on in their ground floor kitchen and returned 10 minute later to find the room full of smoke.
The mother and the young boy left the garden with their friends through a nearby alleyway and phoned Kent Fire and Rescue Service, while the father rushed upstairs, grabbed his sleeping toddler and also escaped to safety.
Two fire engines from Medway arrived at the two-storey terraced house within five minutes of receiving the 999 call and were met with dense, black smoke billowing from the front door and kitchen window. They quickly assessed that the kitchen windows had cracked due to the heat and smoke was also venting into a neighbouring property.
Medway Watch Manager, Paul Nash, said: “The fire had developed very quickly, engulfing the kitchen, a small utility area and crept into the lounge and bathroom above.
“We used a positive pressure ventilation fan (PPV) to force air into the house to drive heat, gases and smoke out of the property. Crews wearing breathing apparatus were then able to extinguish the blaze using two hose reels. They worked extremely hard to get this severe fire under control.”
The family and a pregnant friend were checked over by ambulance crews as a precaution and the Red Cross provided practical help and emotional support to the family, who are believed to be staying with friends until they can be rehoused.
Paul added: “Sadly this young family have lost virtually everything but had the fire started while they were asleep they may have lost more than their belongings as the smoke alarms in their home were not working.
“It is vital that everyone has working smoke alarms on every floor of their home, they really are the most important piece of safety equipment and never leave cooking unattended.”