Landlady escapes kitchen blaze at Fenland pub thanks to newly-fitted smoke alarms

A LANDLADY was alerted to a kitchen blaze in her Fenland pub by smoke alarms which had been fitted by the fire service just a year before.

Rita Gammon was able to escape from the Bridge Inn, in Wisbech St Mary, after being woken by the alarms at 3am last Monday (May 16).

Firefighters entered the pub wearing breathing apparatus and found a stock pot, which had overheated in the oven.

Mrs Gammon said: “I was woken by the alarm at about 3am, and immediately woke my son and went downstairs to investigate.

“There was already a lot of smoke downstairs and I assumed it was coming from the kitchen so I left all the doors closed, fetched the dogs and got outside while my son called the fire service.

“The firefighters were really efficient and professional. They ventilated the building and made sure everything was safe before we went back inside.

“When I went in to the kitchen the next day I was amazed at how little damage there had been.

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“There was such a lot of smoke I assumed the worst, but there had been no real fire, just a lot of smoke, and luckily the firefighters got to it before it had a chance to develop.”

About a year ago, firefighters fitted five smoke alarms all around the pub.

Mrs Gammon said: “My bedroom is the other side of the building so I wouldn’t have heard the smoke alarm in the kitchen, but luckily one of the smoke alarms fitted by the firefighters was closer to my room and that’s what woke me up. It was a real saving grace.

“I just thought afterwards that it could have been a lot worse, and this has also been a real wake up call for my customers, who have been checking their smoke alarms at home after hearing about it.”

Andy Tucker, Risk Manager for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Having a smoke alarm is the most important thing you can do to protect you and your family from fire. However, simply having an alarm isn’t enough.

“Make sure you have an alarm on every floor of your house, and test your alarms every week.

“I’d also like to praise Rita for doing exactly the right thing when she discovered the fire by keeping the kitchen door closed and getting out. If you discover a fire, do not try to fight it yourself, but get out and dial 999.”

The fire service offers a free Home Fire Safety Check to residents who are at risk of fire. Requests are prioritised according to risk. To find out more, contact 0800 917 9994.

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