Smoke alarm and closed internal doors help woman escape from fire

Mon 10 Jul, 2017

A woman was able to escape uninjured from a fire in Milton Keynes early yesterday (Sunday 9 July) thanks to a working smoke alarm and her habit of keeping internal doors closed at night.

Crews from Broughton and Bletchley were called to a fire at a house in Illingworth Place, Oldbrook, shortly after 3am.

Watch Commander Lee Bloom said: "The fire was in the living room of a two-storey mid-terrace house. It was caused by an electrical fault connected with an area where a number of computers, laptops and chargers were stored together.

"The fire damaged all the computer equipment so we were unable to identify which item started it, but it burnt for a long time and caused a lot of damage to the living room.  

"The good news was that the resident had closed the living room door before going to bed, which meant the fire was contained mainly to the room of origin.

"She also had a hard-wired smoke alarm which woke her up and allowed her to escape, call 999 and end up with no physical injuries.

"Her life was definitely saved by her action of closing the door and the fact that her smoke alarm was working."

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to put out the fire and a fan to clear away the smoke.

Lee is urging people to follow the safety tips below and the bedtime safety routine shown at the top of the page.

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them once a month. The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room or in a hallway or landing.
  • Consider fitting alarms in other rooms where there are electrical appliances, and near sleeping areas.
  • Don’t put alarms in or near kitchens and bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
  • If any of your smoke alarms have a one-year battery, make sure it is changed every year. Only take the battery out when you need to replace it.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years as the mechanism gradually deteriorates.
  • Work out in advance how you would escape from a fire in your home. In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free safety check in your home, fitting free smoke alarms where they are needed. To book one of these checks, ring 01296 744477 or email