Firefighters rescue disabled woman from Worthing house fire

FIREFIGHTERS rescued a disabled woman from a house fire in her Worthing flat this morning after a candle was knocked onto the floor (Tuesday, March 17).

Crews were called to the ground floor flat on Clifton Road at 9.09am after the scented candle fell from a bedside table and set light to the floor.

Watch manager Steve Crockett, who was in charge at the incident, said:“We’re extremely relieved, particularly considering this lady’s mobility, that this incident didn’t have a more serious outcome.

“It’s easy to be complacent about the danger of candles because they are such a common sight in people’s homes.

“However, wherever there is a naked flame, there is always a fire risk. We’d always urge people to keep candles well away from anything flammable like bedding or clothing and to make sure they are kept in suitable, sturdy holders on a stable surface. “

Although the woman managed to raise the alarm herself, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service had also previously carried out a home fire safety check at the property and the occupier was protected by a specialist ‘Fire Link’ smoke detector.

This meant that an operator at a 24-hour monitoring centre was automatically alerted to the fire and also placed a call to the fire service.

Sussex control centre operators stayed on the phone with the lady and gave her fire survival guidance while firefighters were dispatched to the scene.

A fire crew from Worthing were in attendance 9 minutes later and, assisted by South East Coast Ambulance personnel, carried the lady out to fresh air and safety. She was subsequently taken to hospital suffering from mild smoke inhalation.

The fire was put out using a CO2 extinguisher and the property ventilated.

Mr Crockett said: “Reducing the time between a fire starting in a vulnerable person’s home and a 999 call being made to the fire service is crucial. A community Fire Link smoke detector is an effective way of doing that.

“We’d like to remind people that we can fit linked smoke detectors, where appropriate, as part of our home fire safety check service.”