News release text
A fire that left a Charing home uninhabitable has prompted firefighters to issue a warning to residents about the dangers of tackling fires themselves.
Fire crews were called to a fire in a chalet bungalow in Stalisfield Road, Charing at 8pm last night (4 March) and tackled a fire in a roof, following an earlier fire that the occupant thought he had extinguished.
It appears that the man had tackled a smaller fire in his lounge earlier in the evening after sparks from a wood burner in the lounge set fire to a rug. He dragged the rug outside to a covered decking area and used a bucket of water to extinguish it. Thinking it was out, he returned to the property.
Later, he heard crackling and noticed smoke and realised the fire had reignited and spread from the decking to the plastic roof of the lean-to and up into the main roof rafters of the property.
Four fire appliances and a water unit attended the scene and crews in breathing apparatus rapidly tackled the fire which had taken hold in the timber frame of the roof. They used hose reels and a covering jet to bring the fire under control and ladders to access the roof, which they cut away to extinguish remaining hotspots.
The roof and part of the lounge were severely fire damaged, but fast work by crews prevented the fire from spreading to the remaining property, which sustained smoke damage.
Crew manager Darryl Spicer said: “This is an extremely unfortunate incident and highlights some important safety messages. Firstly, while the occupant may not have wanted to bother us about a fire that he believed to be fully out, our advice to anyone unfortunate enough to have a fire in their home, however small, is that it is much safer to call us out. We have the equipment and expertise to ensure that it is fully extinguished and hasn’t spread elsewhere.
“Secondly, extreme care should be taken with wood burning stoves and open fires. As this incident shows, a small spark can lead to a serious fire in your home and for this reason we would always recommend that residents use a suitable fire guard. Sparks can escape from wood-burner, even if the doors are closed.”
“In addition, the outcome would have been a lot more serious if the fire had developed later in the evening or when the occupant was asleep, and as it appears that this property had no working smoke alarms. Due to the toxic smoke from the fire it is unlikely he would have escaped serious injury without a smoke alarm to alert him.”