A couple have been speaking about the moment their family had to flee their Faversham home in the early hours of Tuesday morning, (29 December) after their dishwasher caught fire.
The blaze has prompted Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) to encourage people across the county to switch off dishwashers, washing machines and other electrical appliances before they turn in for the night, to help keep the family safe.
James and Steph explained it was a normal evening and they had put their dishwasher on as usual, leaving Maggie their pet dog in her bed in the kitchen, before heading off to bed at around 11.30pm.
James said: "Shortly after, our 16 year-old son, noticed that the internet had gone off, so went downstairs to investigate and smelt smoke so shouted up to the rest of us. As we came down I opened the kitchen door, I saw the dishwasher on fire and the room was full of smoke but I couldn’t see Maggie, so assumed she had bolted out of the house."
Once outside their son phoned 999 from his mobile and two fire engines were immediately sent from Faversham fire station.
"It was then we realised that Maggie was still inside and I was desperately worried" said Steph.
Despite being advised by the fire control operator that the crews were on their way and not to return into the house, James made several attempts to get into the smoke-filled home to find their stricken dog. But the thick, acrid, black smoke made it impossible to see and very hard to breathe, he eventually called to Maggie from the hallway and fortunately, although suffering, she came to him.
Steph said: "The fire service was amazingly quick, and they arrived on the scene within minutes and were so reassuring and helpful."
Both James and Maggie were given oxygen therapy by firefighters after inhaling dangerous smoke and fumes from the fire.
KFRS Crew Manager, Wayne Burney said: "Maggie was conscious but lethargic after taking in so much smoke but we were able to use our special pet oxygen mask, donated only a few weeks ago, to help revive the brave little dog fully and in no time she was acting normally, it was great to see the benefits of the new kit help revive Maggie so quickly"
Fire crews spent over an hour at the property using a hose reel to extinguish the blaze, which is believed to have been caused by a fault in their dishwasher.
Wayne offers some New Year advice to help you keep your family fire safe:
- have working smoke alarms and test them regularly
- switch off all electrical appliances before you go to bed
- close all internal doors before you go to bed at night – it will limit the damage if you are unfortunate enough to have a fire in your home
- make sure you have a fire escape plan that all your family know
KFRS is working with not for profit organisation Smokey Paws to make pet oxygen masks available at fire stations across the county. People can donate via www.smokeypaws.co.uk
Note to editors:
Photo shows: Maggie with Faversham Crew Manager, Wayne Burney and firefighter Louise Ayley.