A WORTHING firefighter said smoke alarms had prevented two house fires from being much more serious.
Watch manager Darren Wickings said if it had not been for the alarms being in place, then people could have been seriously injured or could even have died.
He and his blue watch colleagues were called to the first blaze at 12.20am today (Saturday, October 8) at a flat in Farncombe Road, Worthing.
When they arrived, they found smoke pouring from the first-floor property, and saw around 12 people had evacuated themselves.
Darren said four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building, which was thick with heavy smoke, and found the flat to be very badly damaged.
He said the tenants and their neighbours had gone outside after they heard the smoke alarm sound. It is believed the fire started accidentally in a bathroom. The only casualties were two ferrets, which died in the blaze.
The crew was called to the second blaze shortly after returning to the station.
It was in Elm Grove, Worthing, and they were alerted after a neighbour dialled 999 to say he could hear the smoke alarm sounding in an upstairs property and could smell smoke.
The neighbour then went to bang on the door of the neighbour, and was able to wake him and both had evacuated by the f=time firefighters had arrived.
Mr Wickings said: “It seems this man had gone out and had had a few drinks, and then had got home and put some food into the oven.
“Unfortunately, he had then fallen asleep and it caught light and caused a lot of smoke.
“What both these incidents have proved is the vital importance of having working smoke alarms. In both incidents we could have had a lot of people to rescue who would have had smoke inhalation, or much worse, they could even have died if it was not for the smoke alarms.”