Family urging others to get a smoke alarm

A family are encouraging everyone to have working smoke alarms after escaping a fire at their Killingworth home.

Anne Dawson was watching television with her son Liam, 21, while her 18-year-old daughter Ellen was having a shower when the incident occurred.

The electricity went off at their home in Bluebird Drive, Simonside Park, and when she went to the fuse box in the garage to investigate she was faced with a very strong smell of smoke.

Anne said: “I couldn’t believe the smell and dense smoke, but as I couldn’t see any flames I didn’t think it was an emergency and didn’t want to waste anyone’s time so I rang the company who we have our utility cover with; they immediately advised me to call 999.

“I didn’t think it was serious enough to call 999, but the control room operator was great and reassured me that I had done the right thing.”

Two fire appliances attended and although the fire had already gone out, the crews ensured that the fuse box had cooled down and checked the shower.

Anne added: “I don’t know if the fire would have taken hold but I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having smoke alarms.

“We’ve had them for years and this just goes to show you need them. We were lucky we were in the house at the time of the fire; if we were asleep I’d like to think that the alarms would have given us a chance.”

Phil Clark, District Manager for North Tyneside at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I would urge anyone who sees smoke in their home to ring 999.

“There is no doubt that had the family not been present or had working smoking alarms then the situation could have been much worse.”

“I would like to praise the family for following our advice to leave the house.

“I hope their story encourages other householders to ensure they have smoke alarms and to test them at least monthly to ensure they work.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service offers free Home Safety Checks (HSC) to people who are more vulnerable to having a fire, as well as to those who have had a fire.

For more information on how to stay safe from fire or how to request a Home Safety Check visit,, or call 0800 0327777.