Safety reminder after fire this morning

Thu 30 Oct, 2014

Firefighters are reminding people of the importance of getting everyone out of the house as soon as possible in the event of discovering a fire.

The warning comes after two dogs, a chinchilla and a hamster died and two people had to be treated for smoke inhalation following a fire at a house in Milton Keynes this morning.

Crews from Bletchley and Great Holm were called to a kitchen fire in a two-storey semi-detached house in St Clements Drive, Bletchley, at 4.35am. It started because an item had been left on an electric hob which had then been switched on by accident.

(Note: Although we did not elaborate on what the "item" was in the immediate aftermath of the fire, it has since correctly been identified in the media as a hamster in a cage).

Watch Manager Chris Montague, from Bletchley Fire Station, said: “Fortunately the occupants were alerted to the fire by their smoke alarms, which we fitted for them about two years ago. Without those smoke alarms, they would have been in a lot of trouble.

"Unfortunately, they did not leave the house immediately after discovering the fire, and opened a downstairs door which allowed the smoke to spread. In the event of a fire, it is important to get out, stay out and call 999 without delay."

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reels and a fan to put out the fire and clear the smoke. They rescued the dogs, which sadly didn't survive.

The kitchen was badly damaged by fire, and much of the rest of the house was damaged by heat and smoke.

Firefighters are returning to the area today to give advice and reassurance to residents, and to offer them free safety checks.

Chris's top tips are:

  • Fit smoke alarms and carry out a regular weekly or monthly check by pushing the "test" button. If you don't have smoke alarms, ring Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service on 01296 744477 or send an email to book a free fire safety check.
  • In the event of a fire, get everyone out as soon as possible. Don’t waste time investigating what’s happened or looking for valuables.
  • Keep the oven, hob, grill and toaster clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat, grease or crumbs can lead to a fire.
  • Double-check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking.
  • Don't use your hob as an extension of your kitchen worktop. Anything you place on it could catch fire if the hob is accidentally switched on.
  • Keep tea towels, cloths and other items away from the cooker and hob, and take care if you are wearing loose clothing.
  • If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, take pans off the heat or turn the heat right down to avoid risk.
  • Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
  • Don't start cooking if you are tired or have been drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t leave children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob. Keep matches, lighters and saucepan handles out of their reach.
  • Don't put anything metal in your microwave oven, and please take care when setting the timer.