Supergran's escape from fire

A PLUCKY supergran who escaped a fire in her bungalow by scrambling through her bedroom window has today told how a smoke alarm saved her life.Eighty-year-old Vera Histed was terrified when she opened her bedroom door to see smoke had consumed her Felixstowe home in Rosebery Road on Saturday morning.

A PLUCKY supergran who escaped a fire in her bungalow by scrambling through her bedroom window has today told how a smoke alarm saved her life.

Eighty-year-old Vera Histed was terrified when she opened her bedroom door to see smoke had consumed her Felixstowe home in Rosebery Road on Saturday morning.

An electric blanket which was still switched on had been left over a chair in her living room and burst into flames during the early hours of the morning and filling the lounge with acrid smoke.

She said: “I was woken by my fire alarm at just before four and I went to open my bedroom door.


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“There was thick black smoke everywhere and I knew there was no way I could get through it, I know you are supposed to crawl through smoke but I couldn't because I have replacement knees.”

So instead she threw open the window and crawled through before making a dazed dash to her daughter's home nearby.

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She added: “It hurt when I jumped out of the window and I was in a state of shock.

“But I think self preservation kicks in even when you're at my age; it is amazing how common sense takes over.”

Once Mrs Histed reached her daughter Sally Lambe's house the fire service was called and the flames were under control by about 4.30am, but the house was left covered in soot with much of the furniture ruined.

Mrs Histed, who had recently had a free smoke alarm fitted by Suffolk Fire and Rescue, said: “I didn't realise I'd left it (the electric blanket) on, I'm so fanatical about turning everything off usually so I don't know why it happened.

“At one stage I thought 'why should I have a smoke alarm in a bungalow' but it certainly saved my life.

“And I'm so grateful for the fire service who came so quickly and were fantastic.”

David Atkinson, assistant divisional officer with Suffolk Fire and Rescue, added: “This is a prime example of what we are trying to do in the community.

“We realised that a smoke detector was required and we put one in.

“And a few days later it could well have saved someone's life.

“Our other advice would be that when you're going to bed check the house to make sure your electrical appliances are switched off because when you're asleep you're at your most vulnerable.”

ADO Atkinson added that free smoke detectors and fire assessments were available to all Suffolk residents by calling 01473 588888 or visiting www.suffolk.gov.uk/PolicingAndPublicSafety/FireAndRescueServices.

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