Woman tells of fire escape drama

BRAVE Ipswich woman Jo Clements today revealed how she pulled her nine-year-old son to safety from their burning flat.The 36-year-old mum, her son Reece and their cat, Foxy, are all lucky to be alive today – especially as their Shotley Close flat had no smoke alarm.

BRAVE Ipswich woman Jo Clements today revealed how she pulled her nine-year-old son to safety from their burning flat.

The 36-year-old mum, her son Reece and their cat, Foxy, are all lucky to be alive today – especially as their Shotley Close flat had no smoke alarm.

The fire broke out about 5.30am yesterday when tea lights - still hot even after being blown out - caused the stereo on which they were to catch alight.

Miss Clements said: "I was asleep when I heard a popping sound, like microwave popcorn.


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"I woke up and there was smoke everywhere. I crawled on my hands and knees and got a wet towel to put on my son's face.

"I got him out and them came back. I got water from the bathroom and put out the fire and then got the cat.

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"I couldn't see the room because of the thick, black smoke. All I saw was this fire."

Firefighters, who were called around 6.20am, arrived within minutes. Miss Clements and her son were taken to hospital but released shortly afterwards.

Miss Clements, who has been living in her Shotley Close flat since December 2002, said: "It was so lucky we got out alive. Apparently carbon monoxide takes over and you lie there still alive, but unable to move.

"The first thing my son said to me was, 'I am so glad you are not dead, mummy.'

She added: "He had fallen asleep in my bed, which is why I was able to get him out.

"He was lucky not to be in his own room because his door was open – and smoke had obviously got in his room because the curtains were black.

"My door had only been ajar."

Unlike other Orwell Housing Association flats, this one did not have a smoke alarm at the time of the fire.

Paul Kingston, director of housing and care services for Orwell Housing Association, said: "We have got smoke alarms and smoke detectors in all our properties.

"This particular flat did not have a smoke detector at the time of the fire.

"An electrical inspection had been ordered for the flat, but our contractors were unable to gain access. I have got our contractors looking at their records to see how many times they tried.

"When the property was inspected [by a housing officer] prior to Miss Clements moving in, there was nothing [written on the form] to indicate that there was no alarm.

"One will be fitted straight away."

He added that Miss Clements will most likely have to stay with friends and relatives until her flat has been put right, but that this should not take too long.

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