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Firefighters have today said that a family in Stamford Hill had “remarkable and lucky” escape from a fire in their house in Stamford Hill in the early hours of this morning.
The family did not have working smoke alarms and tried to tackle a large freezer fire themselves. The fire quickly spread from the ground floor up to the first floor, forcing three people to climb out of a first floor window to escape.
Four adults and one child were in the property in Hillside Road when one of the residents heard a bang from the dining room. The occupant went to investigate and discovered a chest freezer fully alight.
The resident tried to extinguish the fire with a garden hose before alerting other residents in the property, leaving the house and calling 999.
The property was not fitted with any smoke alarms.
One person left the property via the back door into the rear garden and was led to safety by firefighters. Two adults and a child left the property via a first floor window onto a lean-to which joined on to a neighbouring property and one person left the house through the front door.
The Brigade’s fire investigators believe the fire was accidental and caused by the failure of a capacitor in a chest freezer.
Watch manager Dean Wilkinson, from the Brigade’s fire investigation team, said: “This family had a remarkable and lucky escape. As the property didn’t have smoke alarms, the blaze had really caught hold before anyone noticed.
“Trying to tackle the fire themselves also allowed the fire to develop and delay their escape from the property. Don’t rely on luck - your home should have a minimum of a smoke alarm on every level of your property and you should never try and tackle a fire yourself. Get out, stay out and call 999.
“Firefighters were faced with a fully developed fire when they arrived at the scene with the ground and first floors well alight. Crews worked extremely hard in challenging conditions to bring the fire under control and stopped it from spreading to neighbouring properties.
“The fire started in a chest freezer in the dining room of the property after the capacitor failed, which caused the insulation within the appliance to catch alight. The fire then spread to the insulation of two fridge-freezers which were next to the freezer. The freezer was located close to the doorway of the dining room, which allowed the rapid spread of the flames up to the first floor.”
Homes need multiple smoke alarms. Fires can start in any room. Fit smoke alarms in your hallways and landings and in any room where you:
Most of the ground floor, half of the first floor and a part of the loft were damaged by fire.
All five occupants of the property suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service crews.
The Brigade was called at 0146 and the fire was under control at 0303. Two fire engines from Stoke Newington fire station attended the scene.
The Brigade has been campaigning for manufacturers to change the way in which fridges and freezers are produced to ensure they are made from a fire resistant material.
Fridges and freezers have lots of very flammable foam inside them which must be properly covered in fully fire retardant material.
Dan Daly, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “While most fridges and freezers work safely for years, they are potentially the most dangerous appliance in the home if they are involved in a blaze because they contain so many flammable materials. They are also one of the few electrical items to be always left on when you are sleeping.”