A Folkestone resident had a lucky escape after a fire in his flat, in the early hours of this morning (22 February).
Firefighters were called to a sixth floor flat in Earls Avenue at 3.38am, where they dealt with an extensive fire in the lounge of the property.
Folkestone watch manager Vic Thorogood said: “We were faced with a substantial fire, which had spread from the sofa to the carpet and the remainder of the room, causing significant fire and a thick wall of smoke. The heat from the fire was so intense that the windows cracked.”
Crews extinguished the fire and removed the sofa and carpet from the flat. They used a thermal imaging camera to check the fire was fully out.
It is believed that the fire may have been caused by a cigarette that had accidently fallen on to the sofa, which caused a slow, smouldering fire after the resident had gone to bed.
There were no smoke alarms in the property, however the man fortunately woke up and tried to put the fire out with buckets of water, before eventually calling for help.
Watch manager Thorogood said: “I am amazed that the occupant actually survived this fire, given the huge amount of damage and the fact that there were no smoke alarms in the property. The man was so lucky to escape uninjured, as just three breaths of toxic fire smoke can render you unconscious, and if you are asleep there is a strong risk that you will never wake up.”
This incident occurred ahead of the launch of Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) latest fire safety campaign – ‘Unsung Heroes’ – which encourages people to make a pledge to test their smoke alarms weekly.
Vic said: “I would recommend that smoke alarms are fitted on every floor of your home and that you get into the habit of testing them weekly to ensure they will work in the unfortunate event of a fire. I would also advise residents who smoke to take extra care to ensure all cigarettes are fully stubbed out after use and disposed of safety.”
Crews fitted smoke alarms in the flat and gave the occupant some fire safety advice. Firefighters also distributed fire safety leaflets to the rest of the flats, highlighting the importance of smoke alarms and the free home safety visit service that KFRS offers.