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A smoke alarm helped alert a family to a fire in their home on North Street, Hornchurch which is believed to have been started by a stray firework.
A women heard the smoke alarm, went to investigate and found the lobby of her building full of smoke. She ran back into her flat, called 999 and Brigade control operators provided fire survival guidance while firefighters arrived.
Vic Bagnelle Operations Manager at London Fire Brigade control explained; “As you can imagine, the woman was very distressed and our first job was to reassure her that help was on the way and ensure she had gathered the family in one room, by an open window and as far away from the smoke as possible. We helped the woman to explain exactly where she was in the building and relayed that information back to firefighters on the ground who were then able to rescue the family via a ladder.”
Firefighters rescued two adults and four children from the first floor of the converted flat.
Watch Manager Steven Blundell who was at the scene said: “Thankfully a smoke alarm alerted the family to the danger. I can’t stress how important it is to have numerous smoke alarms in your home and to test them regularly.
“As a minimum you should have at least one device fitted on the ceiling of every floor in your home, however, we recommend you fit one in every room you regularly use as well as in the hallway.
“Ideal locations for smoke alarms include rooms where electrical equipment is left switched on, such as living rooms or bedrooms.”
It’s believed that a stray firework started the fire and while it caused no fire damage, it did create a lot of smoke.
Watch Manager Blundell continued; “ Even small fires can be deadly, left undetected they can smoulder and develop into a larger blaze. This incident also shows how dangerous fireworks can be and how much smoke they can create. Without the early warning from the smoke alarm, this story could have had a very different ending.”
21 firefighters and officers attended the incident with crews from Hornchurch, Harold Hill and Dagenham Fire stations. The flat was on the first floor above a community centre.
The Brigade was called at 0110 and the fire was under control by 0205.