Alarms at smoke-logged flat saved lives, say fire crews

Fire service
Fire service
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Firefighters say working smoke alarms prevented a tragedy after a blaze caused a flat to fill with thick black smoke.

Crews are also warning residents about the dangers of lighting candles following the fire in the living room of the address at Weavermill Park in Ashton.

Emergency services were called at around 10.45pm on Saturday December 9 and opened the door of the flat to find acrid, choking smoke from floor to ceiling.

Around eight people had to be evacuated from their homes.

The woman and her grandchild in the flat where the fire broke out managed to get out safely after being alerted to the blaze by the smoke alarms.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the fire, which was traced back to a candle and involved the sofa and curtains being set ablaze, before drawing all the smoke out of the block.

The woman and child from the affected fire were scared and shaken by the incident, but the emergency services who attended said it could have been much more serious.

Crew manager Simon Connor from Wigan fire station said: "The working smoke alarms have saved both their lives. They didn't know what was happening until the alarm went off and when we arrived they were stood outside shaking and frightened to death.

"The flat is very badly smoke-damaged. We managed to contain the fire to a corner of the living room but the smoke filled the property throughout.

"Once we had tackled the fire and opened up the flat the smoke started to log the communal areas, so we had to keep a couple of people in the flats upstairs and open up the windows to blow it all out using our fan."

Crews from Wigan and Warrington tackled the blaze and were at the scene for almost two hours.

Firefighters are now issuing a safety warning to residents.

Mr Connor said: "People tend to light festive candles at this time of year so they need to make sure they are in the correct containers and away from anything like curtains which can flap.

"We think in this case the candle was probably too close to the curtain."