27 January 2015
Dartford, Kent firefighters are asking residents to ensure that they have working smoke alarms in their properties after attending an incident at a fume-filled flat in the town.
The ground floor flat did not have an alarm fitted and the fire was discovered only when the smoke alerted neighbours to the danger.
The fire was a small one, apparently caused by a pan left unattended on an electric hob in the kitchen, but there was so much smoke that it had spread to several nearby homes. It was this that prompted the neighbours to dial 999.
Two fire engines were sent to the scene just after 10pm on Sunday (25 January) and firefighters extinguished the fire in the pan, which the resident had moved outside. They then used a high-powered fan to blow the fumes out of the property, significantly reducing the amount of smoke damage.
Crews remained at the scene after the fire putting up free smoke alarms and giving safety advice to the residents.
Watch Manager David Boakes urged all residents to check that they have working smoke alarms on each floor of their homes, saying: “Fortunately, no one was injured and we were able to clear the majority of the smoke without it causing major damage.
“However, there were no smoke alarms in the flat, so if neighbours hadn’t noticed the smoke and raised the alarm when they did, this could have had serious consequences for the occupants, due to the lethal smoke generated.”
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.