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Maidstone: Sharon Pollard praises smoke alarms after fire in her Middlesex Road home

A Maidstone resident is urging people to install smoke alarms after a narrow escape.

Sharon Pollard was at home in Middlesex Road when a fire started on the first floor this morning.

The 53-year-old said: "Both alarms were going off, so I went to the bottom of the stairs and could see smoke coming from upstairs. I immediately shut the doors, then reached under the stairs to turn off the mains electrics to the house and dialled 999."

Middlesex Road, Maidstone. Google Street View
Middlesex Road, Maidstone. Google Street View

Two fire engines were sent to the scene at 11.30am.

Crews led Ms Pollard to safety and went inside wearing breathing apparatus to put out the fire.

They also used a fan to clear smoke from the house.

It is believed the fire was caused by an electric heater that was left on in the bedroom, where clothes were drying. It appears that the heater set fire to an electric carpet cleaner.

Ms Pollard said: "I was so grateful that the alarms alerted me to the fire - without them I dread to think what may have happened."

Maidstone watch manager Chris Puxted said: "This incident highlights just how valuable working smoke alarms are in the unexpected event of a fire.

"With such early warning, we were able to reach the property and tackle the fire before it could cause severe damage, and fortunately the occupant was able to return in their home afterwards."

He added: "I would urge residents to take extra care if using portable heaters in their homes and to ensure that they are not placed too close to clothing or other household items."

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