Elderly woman saved by alarm fitted day before Midhurst fire

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A 97 year old woman escaped unhurt yesterday (Wednesday July 13) when a smoke detector, fitted by firefighters just the day before, alerted her to a fire in her Midhurst home.

A crew from West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to her first floor flat on Rumbolds Hill at 4.07pm after cooking left unattended sparked a fire in her kitchen.

The elderly woman had two new smoke detectors fitted 24 hours earlier, by a retained firefighter from Midhurst Fire Station,

This meant she was alerted to the fire by her smoke alarm activating and was able to escape her home safely.

The fire was out on arrival when firefighters arrived at her home, but the crew treated the woman with oxygen as a precaution and then ventilated her home.

The retained firefighter, Mark Purves, who also works as a 999 control operator and is chairman of Midhurst Town Council, said: “I was working in the fire control yesterday when the 999 call came in and I couldn’t quite believe it initially. It’s a strange but satisfying feeling to know thanks to smoke detectors I’d fitted just the day before, a vulnerable lady got an early warning and was able to escape her property.

“If it had not been for those new smoke alarms sounding this could have had a very different outcome.

“This incident really highlights that a fire can happen anytime and how important it is to have working smoke alarms in your property.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free Home Safety Visits where firefighters visit homes by appointment to give safety advice and, where appropriate, fit smoke detectors or other specialist fire detection equipment.

To request a Home Safety Visit call free on 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

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