Man "Lucky To Be Alive" After Flat Fire

Hampshire firecrews say a Gosport man's lucky to be alive after being rescued from a fire at his flat in Gosport at the weekend.

It's reported he'd fallen asleep while cooking sausages, and the grill pan had caught light.

At 09:29 on Saturday, 13 November 2010, control operators at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were alerted to an fire on the 4th floor of a block of flats in Gosport.

Fire crews were sent from Gosport, Fareham, and Portchester after reports of smoke logging in one of the flats, along with the Special Equipment unit from Cosham Fire Station and Southsea’s Aerial Ladder Platform.

Firefighters forced their way in and rescued one male casualty.  South Central Ambulance Service treated the man at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Group Manager Tony Deacon of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service today said:

“This man is very lucky to have escaped without more serious injuries. The smoke alarm in the flat had been disconnected and the alarm was only raised when a neighbour called 999 to report smoke in the corridor of the block of flats.

“This fire could easily have spread from the grill pan and the occupant has had an extremely lucky escape on this occasion. The message is clear; if you disconnect your smoke alarm, it won’t save your life. I am under no illusions today that this could potentially have been a fatal incident had the neighbour not raised the alarm when they did.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service crews used three jets and three sets of breathing apparatus to tackle a grill pan fire before ventilating the premises.

They've issued the following safety advice:

Fit smoke alarms on each floor level in your home

Test your smoke alarms every month and replace batteries once a year

If your smoke alarms keep going off, don’t disconnect them. They are only doing their job. Ask the Fire and Rescue Service about the best place to put them so that they won’t keep going off, for example, when you are cooking

If your smoke alarm goes off while you are asleep, don’t investigate to see if there is a fire. Shout to wake everyone up, get everyone together, follow your plan and get out

Check doors with the back of your hand - if they are warm, do not open them - the fire is on the other side

If there is a lot of smoke, crawl along with your nose near the floor where the air will be cleaner

Most importantly - get out, stay out, and call the fire service out on 999.

Group Manager Deacon added:

“With the run up to the festive season quickly approaching, this incident acts as a clear warning that drinking and cooking simply don't mix. High levels of inebriation can cause individuals to become oblivious to danger, and it is also a stark reminder that you should never leave cooking unattended.  Had the neighbour not seen the smoke in the corridor and contacted the fire service, we could very easily have been dealing with a fire death here in Gosport."

Experience has shown that people are more aware of the dangers of fire and more responsive to advice in the aftermath of a fire in their particular residential area.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will therefore be visiting premises in the close vicinity of this incident to provide fire safety advice to local residents.