FIREFIGHTERS have warned households to check they have a working smoke detector after a Peebles family had a “very lucky escape” from a flat fire on Monday, writes Kenny Paterson.
The three occupants – a 42-year-old man, 41-year-old woman and a three-year-old girl – managed to get out of the ground floor property on Elcho Street before firefighters arrived at 3.11am, despite having no detector in the flat.
The family were all given oxygen after suffering from smoke inhalation and were taken to Borders General Hospital for a check up.
Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze using two high-pressure hose reels.
The blaze extensively damaged the flat and the smoke affected surrounding properties. Five residents from neighbouring properties had to be evacuated. It is believed the flames were started by a lit candle in the bathroom, with fire officers describing the conditions as bad.
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “Early indications suggest the fire broke out as a result of a candle left burning in the property.
“This is something that we have seen before and we cannot stress enough, if you use candles that you must make sure they are fully extinguished before going to bed.
“There was no smoke detection in the flat either and so it is fair to say the family had a very lucky escape.
“The family were alerted to the emergency by the sounds of the fire crackling and banging. When fire breaks out, particularly in the early hours of the morning, it can be very disorientating and the risks of being overcome by smoke are significant.
“We believe every home should have a working smoke detector. It provides vital early warning if fire does break out, allowing you to escape from the fire safely and call us out.”
The spokeswoman added: “Get into the habit of making checks in your home before you go to bed or leave your home for the day. In addition, make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your house.
“It really could save your life one day.”
To arrange a free home safety visit from the fire service and fitting of smoke detectors as required, phone 0800 169 0320.