Following a serious fire at her home in Stone on Tuesday, November 27, an elderly woman has been hospitalised.
Crews from Stone and Stafford were called to St Vincent Road at 9.54pm by neighbours. One local resident opened the door to find thick black smoke coming from the property and went in to deal with the fire and help the woman who he could see lying on the floor inside. The neighbour, having first extinguished the fire had then opened the back door and this was helping to ventilate the smoke.
Station Manager Gary Fox, having seen the resident and her neighbour in the kitchen, entered the property to assist them. The crews then arrived and dealt with the remainder of the fire whilst paramedics helped to treat the resident and carry her from the property. She was then taken to hospital for treatment where she remains.
A fire investigation found the blaze started in the downstairs back room of the house and was caused by coals falling from the fireplace onto the rug.
Station Manager Fox said: “It would appear that when the resident put more coal onto the fire some burning pieces of coal fell onto the rug causing it and the carpet to ignite. We believe she then went to the kitchen where she fell and was unable to get back up.
“Fortunately we had previously installed smoke alarms into this property and the neighbours heard them going off along with the lady’s cry for help. Although we never encourage people to put themselves in danger, his actions prevented the fire from developing further and improved the conditions for the casualty.
“The lady’s mobility appears to have declined in recent months which contributed to her not being able to escape the building herself. Thankfully this appears to be a very close knit community and she receives a great deal of support from others who live in the area, who came to her aid yesterday. Mobility issues are highlighted in our SAME campaign as one of the factors that increase the likelihood of dying in fire, along with being elderly. With this in mind the outcome of this fire could have been far worse.
“Members of the community check in on this lady regularly and this is exactly what we encourage people to do as well as to be aware that anyone who is affected by the four fatal fire factors, smoking, alcohol, mobility and elderly, are more vulnerable.
“This incident serves as a stark reminder to heat your home safely. In this case the guard appeared to have been removed allowing the coal to fall and start the blaze. Please ensure any open fires are covered properly and always put the guard back in place.”
For more information on the SAME campaign visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/campaigns/fire-death-factors/ and for further home safety advice visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/your-safety/safety-at-home/. Alternatively call out Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999.