A Dover resident was lucky to escape with her life after being overcome by smoke from a bedroom fire at a flat in Christchurch Way in the early hours of Saturday morning (10 November 2018).
Fire crews praised the efforts of police officers, who were initially called to the scene after a
neighbour reported hearing cries for help from a ground floor flat. Kent Police officers discovered the fire and realised someone was trapped inside.
After alerting Kent Fire and Rescue Service, police officers tried to help the occupant by breaking some of the windows and attempting to break down the door. Three fire engines were quickly sent to the scene and crews wearing breathing apparatus used breaching equipment to enter the heavily smoke-logged flat.
They found a woman who had been overcome by smoke in the lounge. She was rescued from the property and given first aid and oxygen therapy, before being passed in to the care of South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb).
Firefighters put out the blaze in a bedroom and managed to contain the fire damage to a mattress and some clothing, however the thick smoke caused severe damage to the remainder of the flat.
Dover crew manager Adrian Hawkins said: “Unfortunately, there were no working smoke alarms in the flat to warn the resident of the fire, and therefore by the time she woke up the smoke was too heavy for her to find her way out. If the alarm hadn’t been raised by neighbours and our police colleagues, the outcome for the resident could have been even more serious.
“The police officers really should be recognised for the amount of effort that they put into trying to reach the occupant in the circumstances they were faced with.”
He added: “I would urge everyone to check that they have working smoke alarms fitted in their homes to ensure they will alert you in the event of a fire, and if you haven’t got any fitted, please do it today – it could just save your life.”
The cause of the fire, which is believed to have been caused by a cigarette, is being treated as accidental.