Smoke alarm plea after Coffee Hall house fire

Wed 11 Dec, 2013

Firefighters are urging people who don't have smoke alarms to look upon this morning's house fire in Milton Keynes as a wake-up call.

Three people were trapped in an upstairs bedroom after an intense fire developed undetected in a terraced house in Daniels Welch, Coffee Hall.

Two jumped to safety - one of them breaking a leg - and the third was rescued by firefighters. All three were suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke.

Station Manager Nick Honor, the incident commander, said: "We are relieved that everyone got out of the house, and wish them a full and speedy recovery from the ordeal and their injuries.

"There were no smoke detectors in the house, and the alarm was raised by neighbours and people outside the house.

"Firefighters were faced with a rapidly developing fire, and worked really hard to carry out the rescue and bring the fire under control before it could spread to adjoining properties.

"The preliminary findings of our investigation into the cause of the fire suggest that it had been burning for some time before the occupants became aware of it. The stairs had been burnt away, cutting off their main escape route.

"Working smoke alarms would have alerted them to the fire earlier, giving them more time to get out before they needed to jump or be rescued.

"If you don't have smoke alarms in your home, and you keep putting off doing anything about it, we are urging you to do something about it today."

Neil Boustred, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: "When a fire breaks out, particularly if it's during the night, smoke alarms provide a vital early warning sign - indeed, they are often your only warning.

"A house fitted with working smoke detectors - and people reacting to them - gives us a much better chance of saving lives."

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service will carry out a free safety check of your home and fit free smoke detectors where necessary. Ring 01296 744477 or send an email to to book an appointment.

Advice if you are fitting your own smoke alarms:

  • Fit one smoke detector to each floor at least 30 centimetres (12 inches) away from any wall or light fitting at ceiling level.
  • Make sure your detector has the British Standard Kitemark on it.
  • If you have only one smoke alarm, fit it in a place where it can be heard throughout your home - particularly when you are asleep!
  • If you have a one-year smoke detector, test the battery once a week and change the battery every year. Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service recommends 10-year tamper-free detectors fitted with push buttons. These are available from all DIY stores.