Marlene Hutchings has a new hero in her life – fireman Alan Cole.
She says Alan saved her life after he insisted on fitting an extra smoke alarm in her mobile home – just days before a potentially lethal kitchen fire broke out.
Marlene, who suffers from osteoarthritis and so has mobility problems, recalled how alerted by the alarm, she found the sitting room at her Havenlyn Residential Park home off the A6, full of smoke.
The kitchen hob was engulfed in flames, and she believes that within minutes the whole building could have been destroyed.
Just four days earlier Alan, a community fire safety advocate with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue service, had called to replace a faulty alarm and insisted she have a third alarm in her open plan sitting room/diner area.
Marlene, 75, said: “He saved my life, he really did. If he hadn’t put the alarm in I wouldn’t be here.”
Retired cleaner Marlene has now thanked Alan Cole for saving both her life and her home, declaring : “He’s god to me.”
Marlene described how she battled through a smoke-filled living room to discover a fire in her kitchen at her home of 24 years at Havenlyn Residential Park on Lancaster New Road at Cabus, alerted by the alarm fitted just four days earlier.
She discovered a tea towel, which she had left folded over a faulty hob ring, well alight.A pan of chicken had been cooking on an adjoining hob ring.
Admitting it had been foolish to leave the tea towel over the stove,even though she had thought it was safe, Marlene, said: “The alarm gave me time to go into the kichen. I don’t think it would have taken much longer to be a full blown kitchen fire. I can’t really walk – but I ran! The tea towel was just flaring up, I picked it off the hob with my grabber and got a wet towel and stamped on it. I got a bowl of water and threw it over the mess on the floor. I then picked the whole thing up with the grabber and threw it outside,”
Alan, who is based at Lancaster and also works as a front-line fire officer, said: “I do know the benefit of what we do as a service. I came out to replace an alarm and looked at the situation and installed a new one too. I remember saying, just for my own peace of mind, ‘I’m putting a smoke alarm there’ (in the living area). It probably made a difference of 20 seconds. A smoke alarm is not going to stop you having a fire, but they give you an early indication of a fire.”
The fire service will send an officer out to fit smoke alarms, give advice and give your home a fire-safety check. Call 0800 169 1125 or see www,lancsfirerescue.org.uk