Following a recent attendance at a fire in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service have issued a warning to homeowners.
Chief Fire Officer, Jon Hall, said: “Our attendance at this property highlighted two very serious problems, either of which could have led to death or serious injury.”
The fire happened when a saucepan was left on the cooker, boiling dry and the contents caught light but, because the smoke alarm had been incorrectly positioned, it failed to detect the smoke and alert the family to the problem. Had it been in the right place it would have given the family a few more precious minutes to get out of the house without being in danger.
Jon continued: “Fortunately, the family agreed to the Fire Service carrying out a Home Fire Safety Check including the fitting of smoke alarms in the right places and the opportunity for our staff to give the family vital information about preventing fires in the future.”
During the safety check, officers identified a problem with the gas boiler which had being placed in an unventilated cupboard, causing a build-up of heat with the potential to cause a fire or possibly a lethal build-up of carbon monoxide.
Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service carried out over 3770 home fire safety checks last year, which involves a short visit to identify fire hazards, highlight how a fire may occur and if necessary fit smoke detectors or test existing detectors.
Gas appliances should be fitted and serviced by a “Gas Safe” registered engineer and checked every year. Badly fitted or poorly serviced appliances can cause gas leaks, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas; you can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly with no warning.
Jon concluded: “We would like people to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the warning signs that a gas appliance is not working correctly – lazy yellow flames, black stains or marks around the appliance and too much condensation in the room or any signs that an appliance is not working correctly.”
For fire safety advice please visit www.glosfire.gov.uk, or to book a free Home Fire Safety Check you can contact your local community fire station, phone 0800 180 41 40 or register online at www.glosfire.gov.uk.