Houghton-le-Spring man 'lucky to be alive' after fire rips through bungalow kitchen

26.09.23 Smoke Alarm Fire Credit: TWFRS
The fire caused significant damage to the kitchen of the bungalow in Houghton-le-Spring. Credit: TWFRS

A fire service has said a man is "lucky to be alive" after smoke alarms woke him up while a fire raged through his bungalow.

The man, in his 80s, was woken at his Houghton-le-Spring home in the early hours of Saturday 9 September by smoke alarm sirens to find his kitchen ablaze with all exit routes blocked.

Senior officers from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have been praised for their "dramatic rescue" of the man through his bedroom window.

His daughter said: “If it wasn’t for my dad’s working smoke alarms, the bravery of the firefighters, and having access to a mobile phone – he wouldn’t be alive today.”

The bungalow blaze is believed to have been caused by a faulty fridge. Credit: TWFRS

After dialling 999, three units from Farringdon and Rainton Bridge community fire stations arrived on the scene within four-minutes of his emergency call.

The man suffered from smoke inhalation and shock but was later released into the care of his family.

The fire was found to be accidental with a faulty fridge the likely cause of the blaze.

Area manager Dave Leach, of TWFRS, said: “On this occasion their intervention almost certainly saved a life and I want to say how proud I am of this response.

“We are glad that the gentleman has not been seriously injured but we know how distressing incidents like this can be, particularly when a home is destroyed."

The man's daughter said if it were not for her father's smoke alarms waking him him "he wouldn’t be alive today.” Credit: TWFRS

Mr Leach also praised fire control staff who kept the man calm so they could gather information needed to quickly dispatch rescue teams.

He also pointed out the importance of checking smoke alarms are working as in this particular case the device had proved to be life-saving.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service offer 'Safe and Well' visits to those who need their smoke alarm, heat monitors and trip hazards assessed.

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