Family flee Hitchin house fire

A FAMILY of four escaped a house blaze yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, with two taken to hospital.

The family, which included two young children, managed to escape their terraced house in Hardy Close in Hitchin, after a chip pan caught alight around 2.45pm. The fire was out by 3.30pm.

The mother and her two-year-old daughter were taken to Lister Hospital, after suffering smoke inhalation. All were treated at the scene by Hitchin fire crews with oxygen therapy.

Hitchin watch commander Graeme Cheshire said: “All of the family had got themselves out of the house and went into the back garden. The mum and the youngest child who were upstairs asleep in the bedroom suffered the most from smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital.

“It was a chip pan fire. The chip pan was put on, and then the gentleman fell asleep.

“Fortunately, extremely fortunately, the dad awoke and then could see all the smoke. The smoke alarms did not alert him because the batteries weren’t in.”

The damage was confined to the kitchen, with no damage elsewhere.

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Watch commander Cheshire added: “We want to discourage people from using chip pans to prepare oven chips or use a proper deep fat fryer.

“I would also urge everyone to check their batteries in the smoke alarm. Do not remove the batteries.

“The service is available to come round and do free fire safety checks.”