Saved by the bell: Whitnash fire escapees tell of relief
THE shrill beep of a smoke alarm may have saved the lives of a Whitnash family who managed to escape from their burning home.
Jackie and John Patterson, their two young grandchildren and their dog Pru all got out of the house unharmed after being woken up in the night to the sound of their smoke alarm.
It was the dishwasher in the kitchen of the house in Home Farm Crescent that caused the fire in the early hours of December 28.
Mrs Patterson, who, along with her family is now living in a hotel while their home is recovered, said: “We were all in bed and we were woken up at around 4am by the sound of the smoke alarm.
“We just put on dressing gowns and got out the house. I called the fire brigade on my mobile straight away and they arrived within five or six minutes.”
A neighbour took the couple and the children, aged five and seven, into his home and gave them hot drinks while firefighters spent the next two hours dousing the flames.
Mrs Patterson said: “If it had not been for the alarm, we might not have got out. The smoke was rapidly travelling upstairs.
“The kitchen was blackened and the house was filled with smoke. We will need a completely new kitchen and the whole house will need a thorough cleaning. It is likely to be at least six weeks before we can go home.”
Luckily it was only kitchen implements and nothing of sentimental value that the Pattersons lost – and, although the couple were both treated for smoke inhalation, none of them nor the dog were injured.
And the family did not let the incident ruin their new year celebrations as they spent the 31st evening at St Patrick’s Club to see in 2013, before heading back to their hotel.
Fire station commander Jon Dixon said: “This is a real example of where working smoke alarms do save lives.
“The smoke alarms gave the family early detection of the fire, so they were able to escape the property before the fire took hold.
“Without the smoke detectors, we may now be talking about the loss of a family at one of the most festive times of the year.”
To request a free home fire safety check or have a new smoke alarm fitted, call 423231 or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafetycheck
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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