A BRIDLINGTON family is alive today because they fitted smoke alarms in their home.
Self-employed builder Chris Hogg, 34, his wife Louise and their five year old Daughter Annie were only minutes away from certain death when smoke alarms woke them to find a severe and toxic fire which was already spreading up the stairs as they slept.
At 1.30am last Tuesday a freak electrical fault set light to shoes and a Dyson cleaner in the cupboard under the stairs of their Queensgate home, Bridlington, filling their house with choking, toxic smoke and enough heat to melt kitchen units and the fridge.
Petrified, Louise went to get Annie from her room, Chris ran downstairs to find the cupboard ablaze and in a matter of minutes they and their pet Jack Russells Jake and Dave had managed to get out of the house. As they did so, in complete darkness as there was no electricity, a gas combi boiler in the cupboard exploded.
“We are 100% certain our smoke alarms saved our lives. Three more minutes and we would not have woken up at all, the smoke was already creeping up the stairs.”
An alarm had melted and come down but was still sounding,” said Chris, who has kept it as a reminder of how it saved their lives.
Firefighters were there within eight minutes but by then the damage, described by Chris as “unbelievable”, had been done.
Now living with his parents Anne and Barry, the family have lost almost everything, furnishings and fittings and Annie’s toys, and are not expecting to move back into their home for between two and possibly six months - but they are glad they are alive.
Also with them is Nina Holgate, Louise’s daughter, who luckily was staying away from home the night of the fire.
Their two dogs suffered vomiting after inhaling smoke and Annie, who goes to Martongate School, had complained of headaches, but now seems fine.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service say the cause was an electrical fault, not in the house internal system, but in the mains supply to the fuse box in the cupboard.
Supplier, CE Electric, is carrying out an investigation.
“It was terrifying, you do not think it will happen to you, and without doubt everyone should have smoke alarms fitted, and make sure their battery is working,” said Louise.
The family has always been fire safety conscious, ensuring lights and other electrical equipment are always switched off at night, and none of them smoke.
The house was completely rewired when they moved in eight years ago and after the fire services fitted a smoke alarm for them during a routine safety advice check, they went out and bought enough to have one in every room.
“We did nothing wrong, and there was nothing we could have done to prevent what happened. Without the smoke alarms I don’t think we would be here,” said Chris.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is your home safe, will you now get smoke alarms. Have you had a similar experience? Send us your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org,uk or in writing to Bridlington Free Press, 3, Prospect Street, Bridlington YO15 2AQ