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Tonbridge: Family lucky to escape carbon monoxide poisoning

By Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas

A Tonbridge family have been told they could have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from a fire which broke out in their home.

The family-of-four, who live at a property in Oakmead, noticed the smell of gas earlier in the week, but hadn't called an engineer.

On Sunday a leak from the cooker was ignited from flames from the hob. Luckily, there was no explosion, but the fire spread from behind the cooker to the cupboards and then up the walls to the ceiling.

Firefighters were called to the scene. Stock picture.
Firefighters were called to the scene. Stock picture.

All of the occupants were upstairs but fortunately their smoke alarm sounded, allowing them to escape and call 999.

Firefighters say the incident could have been a lot worse.

Two fire engines were called around 5.30pm. When they arrived all four family members had left the property safely and had isolated the gas supply from the outside, however crews were faced with an extensive kitchen fire.

Firefighters tackled flames for nearly two hours using a hose reel jet, breathing apparatus and a thermal imaging camera to eventually extinguish the blaze.

"The family were really very fortunate that nothing more serious happened. Gas leaks are dangerous and really should be addressed as soon as they’re discovered" - Mark Havell, KFRS

Crews managed to contain the fire to the kitchen; however it caused serious damage to the room, as well as significant heat and smoke damage to the rest of the property.

Paramedics carried out precautionary checks on all four occupants which included a couple in their late 70s; the family was also given home safety advice.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service watch manager, Mark Havell, said: "The family were really very fortunate that nothing more serious happened. Gas leaks are dangerous and really should be addressed as soon as they’re discovered.

"KFRS recommends all home should have at least one working and properly fitted smoke alarm on every floor, and a carbon monoxide detector near any fuel-burning appliances, including gas boilers, wood burners or open fires.

"As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to yourself and the residents in your home to ensure appliances and flues are safe. KFRS also recommends that you employ a Gas Safe registered engineer to regularly maintain and service all gas appliances and/or flues.”

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