FIREFIGHTERS bravely battled through thick black smoke to reach a young couple and their six year old daughter trapped in an upstairs room in Maple Road, Grays. The frightened family were huddled round an upstairs window taking in air when crews from Grays and Orsett arrived at the blaze.
Four firefighters in breathing apparatus went quickly inside with a plan to lead them to safety but when they reached them, the route back through the property was too dangerous so a ladder was pitched outside.
A firefighter first carried the child down the ladder to safety and then returned to carry down her father. Her mother was able to clamber out of the window and was led down the ladder.
All three were suffering from the affects of smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital by Ambulance as a precautionary measure.
“This family had a very lucky escape,” said Station Officer Maddams, the officer in charge of Blue Watch at Grays Fire Station. “It was a team effort with crews from Orsett and Grays working well together in what had to be a quick and efficient rescue. The couple and their daughter most definitely owe their lives to the breathing apparatus crews that went inside both to tackle the fire and to rescue them.
“The thick black smoke was deadly and we felt it was too dangerous to bring the family back through the property once we’d reached them, so they were taken down the ladder.”
Firefighters used one hose reel to tackle the fire and the incident was dealt with by 03:43 hrs.
The couple, in their late twenties, did not have a working smoke alarm in the property. This could have provided enough early warning to give them the valuable seconds they needed to flee. The fire service is always keen to emphasise the value of these devices in saving lives. Fortunately on this occasion, because of the actions of crews, they escaped with their lives.
It is believed the fire was triggered by a burning pan left on a lighted stove when the family went to bed. “It looks like there was oil in the pan that heated to such an extent that it caught light and set fire to kitchen cabinets causing the fire,” said Station Officer Maddams, who warned of the dangers of leaving cooking unattended.
“It’s an easy thing to do but it’s important to remember not to walk away while you’re cooking and when you’re finished to make sure everything’s turned off.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley, Head of ECFRS’ frontline service support directorate, commended crews on their actions. “This was an exemplary example of our operational response in action – our firefighters did everything expected of them,” he said.
“This morning, we will be focusing on our protection and preventative activities, sending resources into the area on the ground to distribute fire safety information and using this high profile rescue to generate interest locally. We want to be able to reinforce our message that smoke alarms do save lives at a time when people will best take that message on board. This family was lucky, the next may not be so lucky without such a valuable life saving device in place.”
ECFRS carries out free home fire safety checks for the most vulnerable members of the community, To see if you qualify, call today on 0845 6012495.