Smoke alarms saved the life of a sleeping 88-year-old Shropshire pensioner whose home had caught fire.
Keith Wilkins was snoozing in an armchair in the living room of his bungalow in Alveley, near Bridgnorth, when flames started to spread from the kitchen cooker filling the home with choking black smoke.
But three smoke alarms, positioned throughout the large bungalow by firefighters as part of a countywide campaign to protect vulnerable householders, were triggered by the smoke and emitted a piercing noise to awake the sleeping Mr Wilkins, who managed to escape.Fortunately his son Mark (62), who lives nearby, was driving past and saw his father coughing heavily in the driveway.
“He had inhaled some fumes and my wife took him straight to the doctor’s surgery nearby while I called 999 and he was then sent by ambulance to Telford hospital as he had breathing difficulties,” said Mark, a senior engineer.
Ten firefighters in two fire appliances from Bridgnorth and Kidderminster arrived on the scene as smoke started to pour out of the front door in Daddlebrook Road on Tuesday, (Nov 22) after the alarm was raised at 3.40pm. Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus put out the flames which destroyed a third of the kitchen and left the home heavily smoke logged.
Bridgnorth Crew Manager Ian George said: “On route to the incident I knew which home we were going to as I had installed the smoke alarms just over six months ago.
“They definitely saved his life. He was asleep and would have been overcome by smoke if it wasn’t for the detectors going off.”
Firefighters appealed for everyone to check their smoke alarms after fitting ten new detectors the following day into five neighbouring properties in which residents had been unaware they were faulty.
Mr Wilkins thanked firefighters for fitting his father’s smoke alarms and for checking they were working in a follow up visit. He said his father, who spent the night in hospital, would be staying with him until he recovered fully.