Hitchin families’ ‘lucky escape’ after house fires

TWO Hitchin families who were victims of house fires within days of each other have had a “lucky escape”, according to fire officers.

Firefighters were called to the two house fires over the weekend, in which the families, including young children and babies, managed to flee just in time.

The first incident was in Sturgeon’s Way just before 6am on Friday morning after a candle was left unattended in a bathroom. The family of four - two adults, a child and a baby - managed to escape, although their property suffered smoke damage.

The second fire in Willow Tree Way at 1.25am Monday morning was caused by a cooker left unattended. A mother and her two children managed to escape the fire, which was confined to the kitchen.

Zoe Servet-Magenis Heredero, who lives in the maisonette above the property in Sturgeon’s Way, alerted the fire service to the incident and got the father out of the building. Her and her partner looked after the couple, and let them stay in their apartment.

She told The Comet: “It was about 5.55am in the morning and I was awake when I heard this banging on my door. The family were stood there, shouting to ring the fire brigade.

“I ran and called them. Then, the dad threw a suitcase through the door and ran to get stuff out.

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“There was just so much smoke. I went and got some shoes for the mother, and we were told to evacuate the building.

“Then, I realised that he [the father] had gone into the property again, so I went and dragged him out and I shut the door to stop the smoke getting through. Three engines arrived a few moments after that. They were brilliant.

“The fire came from the bathroom in the back, and the family were sleeping in the bedroom at the front. If they were in the room next to the bathroom, it may not have been such an outcome. I think we are all lucky.”

Herts Fire Service said that neither property had working smoke alarms fitted, and urged people to check theirs.

Frank Gollogly, watch commander at Hitchin, said: “I’d like to emphasise the importance of having a working smoke alarm. These two incidents were close calls and in other circumstances someone could have been seriously injured or killed.”

Station commander Les Jones, whose officers also visited neighbouring house to check if they had alarms, added that the service did free safety checks.

He said: “We have now fitted alarms in both houses. The damage wasn’t terrible, but the consequences could have been and that’s what we want to get across.

“One house had an alarm which didn’t work and the other didn’t have one at all. We need to get the message over.”

Do you know either of the families? Get in touch by phoning 01438 866206 or email editorial@thecomet.net

Visit www.hertsdirect.org/fire to get a free check.

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