Firefighters find man on floor after portable cooker pumps out smoke

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RESIDENTS are being warned to check their smoke alarms after two lucky escapes from fires this week.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, three pensioners escaped for the second floor of a house in Manor Road after a blaze began in their kitchen. The trio, who were asleep at the time, were woken by their smoke alarms which fire officers said saved their lives. They managed to escape while six firefighters battled the blaze inside. One of the men - who went back to try and tackle the fire - and a neighbour were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Investigators are still trying to work out what exactly caused the fire, but it is believed to have started near the freezer.

Pat Scott, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service head of protection, said: “It is pure coincidence that this property had only recently been fitted with hard-wired smoke alarms but undoubtedly saved their lives in this instance by giving them adequate time to escape.

“We would always advise people not to go back into a property as the point of smoke alarms is to ensure that residents are made aware of the fire and can escape safely.”

On Tuesday morning, a man in his 20s was pulled unconscious from a flat in Old London Road after neighbours heard his fire alarm going off at about 3.30am. Firefighters forced their way in and found him lying next to an oven that was billowing smoke. He too was treated for breathing in smoke.

The incident came after East Sussex Fire and Rescue (ESFRS) urged people to take care in the kitchen in last week’s Observer.

Local watch commander George Wippich re-iterated that call, saying: “We would remind people to ensure they have switched off their appliances when they are not in use and to always remain vigilant when cooking.”