Couple escape fire thanks to smoke alarm

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A couple say they owe their lives to a smoke alarm after a fire broke out in their home.

Helen and George Borg, of Stanley Street West, North Shields, were asleep in bed when they were woken by their smoke alarm at about 12.45am on Tuesday, August 4.

A fire had broken out in their kitchen but they were able to escape, along with their pet dog.

Mrs Borg, 53, said: “We heard the smoke alarm and could hear a crackling noise.

“George ran downstairs, shut the kitchen door then said ‘we’ve got to get out; we’re on fire’.

“He got me and Macy, our west highland terrier, out of the house and I rang 999 straight away on my mobile.

“The smoke alarm definitely saved our lives. I dread to think what could have happened without it. I would recommend everyone to have them.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s control room received the call at 12.48am and two crews from Tynemouth Community Fire Station arrived at the scene within six minutes.

Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire using two hose reels. They also fitted two new smoke alarms.

Mrs Borg added: “The firefighters were there so quickly and they were amazing. We are so grateful.”

The fire was caused by an electrical fault in a junction box behind the cooker.

The kitchen was severely damaged by fire and smoke, and the couple have been left without gas or electricity.

Station Manager Andy Lillford, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is a perfect example of how having working smoke alarms can literally save your life.

“I recommend everyone to have working smoke alarms fitted in their home.

“They give you and your family an early warning of fire which can then give you the vital minutes you need to escape.

“They really can mean the difference between life and death.

“It is also advisable for every household to have an escape plan so everyone knows what to do if a fire happens during the day or night.

“Never try to tackle a fire, always get everyone out, stay out and call 999.”