Family’s smoke alarm warning after tumble dryer fire escape

 
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Release date: 23 July 2019

When a fire broke out in Allie Sexton’s tumble dryer she had just minutes to get her family out of their home before the fire took hold.

Together with her fiancé Darren Muckle and two children, they made it out safely after their smoke alarm alerted them that something wasn’t right.

Now West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is calling on all residents to make sure they have a working smoke alarm and check it at least once a week to ensure they have the earliest possible warning of fire.

Two crews from Chichester Fire Station were mobilised to tackle the fire at Oving Terrace in Chichester on Wednesday, July 10, shortly after 11.15pm.

Upon arrival they found smoke issuing from the property and a fire in the family’s tumble dryer, which they extinguished using one high pressure hose reel, a covering jet and a safety jet. They also used two sets of breathing apparatus, and removed the tumble dryer from the property to ventilate it.

The family have since been moved to alternative accommodation by housing provider Hyde Homes, who installed the smoke alarm.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging residents to check their appliances to ensure they have not been recalled. Residents can register their appliances up to 12 years old on the Register My Appliance website.

The family have urged other residents across the county not to fall victim to fire themselves, by making sure they have a working smoke alarm.

Allie said: “Our smoke alarm saved our lives, because if that hadn't gone off it could have been a lot worse. When we realised the tumble dryer was on fire my concern was for my family and getting everyone out of the house.

“This could happen to anyone. You think it's not going to happen, but it can happen to you in a flash.

"We bought our tumble dryer second hand, and what I would say to people is don’t take that risk. Save up and buy a new one, that way you have that protection.

“Don't make the same mistake. It’s your family’s lives. It could have been much worse for us, and we're lucky to be alive.”

Responding to the incident was Chichester E Watch Crew Commander Anton Mezzone. He said: “It was very fortunate that this family had working smoke detection installed in their property. It alerted them to the fire in their tumble dryer in their front kitchen, and thankfully they all got out safely.

“We would encourage all residents to register their electrical appliances online so they are alerted of any product recalls.

“I would highly recommend that residents consider having a Safe and Well visit, formerly known as a Home Safety Visit, from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to ensure the safety of your family.”

For more information visit our Electrical and heating appliance safety advice web page.

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