Family relieved over smoke alarm

A MUM-of-five today praised firefighters and the value of smoke detectors after a fire threatened to tear through her Nacton home.Elizabeth Wellesley Wesley told how her family escaped unharmed and her detached Victorian home relatively unscathed after an alarm near her bedroom alerted her to the blaze next door to her youngest daughter's room.

A MUM-of-five today praised firefighters and the value of smoke detectors after a fire threatened to tear through her Nacton home.

Elizabeth Wellesley Wesley told how her family escaped unharmed and her detached Victorian home relatively unscathed after an alarm near her bedroom alerted her to the blaze next door to her youngest daughter's room.

The drama occurred around 2am today.

Mrs Wellesley Wesley's husband James had just returned from a business trip to America. When she was awoken by a noise at first she assumed it was his alarm clock, but then realised it was more serious.


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The 46-year-old said: "There was a beep, beep, beep, and I thought ' that's weird'.

"I went out on to the landing and as soon as I opened the door I knew there was a fire. All the lights were off.

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"The only light was from a glow of the burning fire which was on the upstairs landing in the fuse box. The fire was between ours and the children's bedrooms."

Mrs Wellesley Wesley, shouted for her husband and got her three youngest daughters, Flora, 16, Clare, 13 and Emma, five, out of the beds and the house.

The Wesley's two eldest daughters were away from home at the time.

When the family were out of the house Mr Wesley, 47, grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to contain the blaze until firefighters were able to get there.

Initially two crews from Ipswich arrived but worried the fire would spread to the roof reinforcements were called and eventually around 25 firefighters were called to The Old Rectory in Ipswich Road.

Mrs Wellesley Wesley said: "The fire service were fantastic, but if it had not been for the smoke alarm on the top landing there is no way I would have woken until the fire had got to my bedroom. I would never live in a house without a smoke alarm.

"The fire service said another five minutes and it (the fire) would have been in the roof and got to the roof felt. The damage is happily very limited."

Sub officer Ian Mallet, who was in charge at the scene, said: "All of the smoke detectors were well maintained and have proved to be worth their weight in gold.

"If the fire hadn't been detected and the call hadn't been put through as quickly as it had the situation could have been different.

"If we had arrived ten minutes later the roof space would have been alight and we would have had a major fire on our hands. It would have need about eight appliances as it was a very large property."

Four appliances actually attended the Old Rectory although a turntable ladder was called merely as a precaution in case the fire spread. Only two engines were actually needed to tackle the blaze.

The fire had broken out in the house's power intake room and had spread to the roof joists. It took crews just more than an hour to extinguish the blaze.

Today either the firefighters or the community fire education group will be returning to the area to educate local residents in fire prevention and safety.

nThe Evening Star has 20 smoke alarms to be won thanks to B & Q at Ransomes Europark.

To enter this competition send your name, address and daytime telephone numbers to B & Q Smoke Alarm Competition, Evening Star, PO Box 137, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN by 10 April 2004.

For a full range of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms visit the B & Q Warehouse on Ransomes Europark.

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