Smoke alarm saves family from Luton house fire

A smoke alarm alerted a Luton family

A smoke alarm alerted a Luton family

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A working smoke alarm helped save a family from a house fire that swept through a property in Olympic Close, Luton on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters were called at 2.52pm to blaze in Olympic Close Luton and arrived eight minutes later to find a “very well developed fire” affecting a two-storey semi-detached house.

Both the ground floor and first floor were involved in the blaze which had been started by unattended cooking left on a kitchen stove.

A woman and several children had been upstairs in the house when the fire started but the working smoke alarm alerted them to the danger and they were able to escape uninjured.

Strong winds and open windows and doors combined to help the fire spread, firstly around the kitchen and then up the stairs to the first floor.

Firefighters fought the fire using four breathing apparatus, two hose reels and a covering jet and got it under control after about ten minutes. Within 20 minutes of their arrival it was extinguished.

There were no casualties but the fire caused damage to 70% of the house and smoke damage to all of the property.

Firefighters cleared the smoking using positive pressure ventilation and the incident was closed at 4.40pm.

Station Commander Steve Allen who investigated the fire said: “The unattended cooking on the stove had started a small fire but the strong winds and open windows caused this to quickly spread to the kitchen units and around the kitchen.

“The working smoke alarm alerted those in the house so they could make their escape but in doing so they left their front door open and that helped draw the flames up the staircase which acted as a natural flue and spread the fire to the first floor. Other open windows and the failure of the bathroom windows also helped fan the flames and spread the fire.

“Our firefighters did extremely well to tackle such a complex situation – when they arrived there were ceiling high flames in the staircase with several small fires burning around the house. They had to do lot of firefighting to put these out quickly and did an excellent job in extinguishing it so swiftly.

“Our message is don’t leave cooking unattended, even for a few minutes, as a small fire can develop very quickly into one that threatens life. Make sure your smoke alarm works, it could save your life, and if you discover a fire close all your doors and windows, if it is safe to do so, to help stop it spreading.”