A Fire Safety Officer is highlighting the importance of smoke alarms and praising the actions of a community spirited neighbour who raised the alarm and saved five children and two women from a fire at a house in Prestatyn.
Crews from Rhyl, Prestatyn and Abergele were called to the property on Princes Avenue, Prestatyn at 05.08hrs this morning, Sunday April 18.
The two women and five children were alerted to the fire after a neighbour noticed the flames, and knocked on the door until the residents were woken.
There were no working smoke alarms fitted in the property.
One woman was conveyed to hospital for precautionary checks.
The fire is thought to have been caused by embers from an outdoor fire spreading to a fence and then on to the eaves of the property. Crews acted quickly to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent properties. The fire cause 100% fire damage to the roof, 80% smoke damage to the remainder of the property and heat and flame damage to the rear of the property.
Mike Edwards from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This was a very lucky escape – had the neighbour not noticed the flames and acted quickly, running over to knock on the door and wake those in the house, we could have been dealing with a real tragedy.
“This highlights the importance of smoke alarms and a practiced escape route – fires happen when you least expect them, often during the night. A smoke alarm will immediately warn you, giving you and everyone in your home time to escape to safety. It is also important that you think about how you would escape in the event of a fire, and have keys readily available for exit doors which may be locked. In this incident, the residents could not find the keys for the front door, which would have been the safest exit, and had to leave the property through the back door which was affected by fire. Responding to a fire in your home in the middle of the night can be very disorientating – so planning and practicing your escape route with your family can make a real difference.
“The fire appears to have spread from a container which had been burning items in the garden earlier in the evening.
“I would issue a word of caution - fires can spread quickly and they can be extremely unpredictable.
“We have attended numerous incidents where outdoor fires have spread to properties.
“Householders sometimes burn rubbish or unwanted items on their land, often in their back garden. We advise against this practice. We would appeal to residents to dispose of their waste responsibly and use civic amenity sites where possible. If you must burn, then please do so responsibly, ensuring that suitable control measures are in place, and consider the potential effect on neighbouring properties.
"I'd like to praise the actions of the neighbour and the attending fire crews who worked effectively in dealing with this incident and prevented it from spreading to adjacent properties.
“We want to keep our communities safe, and we offer free safe and well checks for all residents – a member of the Service will give fire safety hints and tips, help you to formulate a fire escape plan and provide new alarms - all free of charge.
“To register for a free safe and well check, please call the 24 hour free hotline on 0800 169 1234.”