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Late night snack could have proved deadly

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Fire Engine

Late night snacks aren't good for your health - but this one nearly cost a woman her life.

Firefighters say a woman in her 30s was overcome with smoke while she slept, having dozed off while cooking and allowing the oven to catch fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, August 19.

A fire alarm in the flat in Highland Road, Maidstone, had been deliberately deactivated - covered with a plastic bag - and the alarm was only raised when neighbours saw smoke billowing from the building.

Crews used two sets of breathing apparatus, one hose reel jet and covering jet to investigate the fire, which had fortunately gone out on its own. Firefighters then used a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear smoke from the property.

Incident commander Watch Manager Roy Ingram said: "The lady we rescued was incredibly lucky to have not suffered worse than breathing in potentially lethal fire smoke - it is a hugely important example of why smoke alarms should always be fitted in every home.

"Smoke alarms are designed to give an early warning of fire, providing enough time for escape. Obviously, they can't do this properly if they are damaged, covered up or have had batteries removed. We recommend testing your smoke alarm once a week, and cleaning it carefully once a month.

"Just three breaths of fire smoke can knock out a healthy adult, and the effects are much worse for anyone with less lung capacity, including young children or the elderly."

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