London Fire Brigade

Chicken incubator causes bungalow blaze

21 May 2012

An Essex bungalow was damaged by fire this morning after a homemade chicken incubator caught fire, said the London Fire Brigade today.

Three people were inside the home when the blaze broke out in the middle of the night but fortunately they had a working smoke alarm which alerted them to the blaze and all three were able to escape without serious injury.

Ten firefighters from Wennington and Dagenham fire stations rushed to the bungalow, which is in Rainham in Essex. The fire crews were met outside by Mr and Mrs Reeves, who are in their 60s, and their daughter, who is in her 30s.

Mrs Reeves told the firefighters she was a teacher and had brought a chick home from school for the night. She had created a makeshift incubator, using a cardboard box, some sawdust and a clip on spotlight to keep the chick warm. Officers from the Brigade’s fire investigation team believe the spotlight fell off the box into the sawdust, which then started smouldering and eventually caught fire.

Mr Reeves  said: “Five more minutes inside and I reckon we’d have been dead. Had it not been for the smoke alarm we might not have woken up and been able to get out so quickly so I’d just say to everyone: get one today, it could save your life.

“I’m grateful to the firefighters who arrived so quickly which meant that the damage to our home wasn’t too severe. The ambulance crew were also fantastic, they thoroughly checked us over and managed to calm my wife down who was coughing from the smoke.”

Watch Manager Narinder Dail from the London Fire Brigade was in charge of the incident, she said: “There’s no doubt this family were saved by the smoke alarm which woke them up and enabled to them to quickly escape. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt but sadly the chick didn’t make it.”

An ambulance was called and the family was treated for minor smoke inhalation on the scene. Fortunately they were not seriously injured. Following the fire, fire crews visited nearby homes to offer advice on how to prevent fires and fitted free smoke alarms in the homes of those who needed them.

The bungalow was partly damaged by fire. A pouffe, on which the incubator was positioned and a nearby sofa, were also damaged and there was smoke damage throughout the property.

The Brigade was called to the fire, which was on Berwick Road in Rainham in Essex, at 0145 this morning and the fire was brought under control by 0230.