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Firefighters rescue woman trapped upstairs by fire

| July 27, 2015

A woman who was trapped upstairs by a fire on her landing was sucessfully rescued by firefighters following a fire in Princes Risborough during the early hours of Monday 27th July 2015.

Firefighters were called to the property at St Johns Court in Bell Street 12.33am. One fire appliance with crew attended from Princes Risborough fire station as well as two from High Wycombe fire station. An officer alto attended.

Control Room staff remained on the telephone and provided fire survival guidance to the trapped woman until firefighters arrived. She was carried down a ladder from a first floor window and handed into the care of paramedics, who took her to hospital.

One hose reel, two sets of breathing apparatus, a Positive Pressure Ventilation fan and a thermal imaging camera were used by firefighters at the scene. The first floor was 50% damaged by fire and 100% damaged by smoke.

Group Commander Mick Martin from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said: ‘The occupant was trapped in a first-floor bedroom and unable to get out.

The Control Room maintained contact with the resident and was able to give her fire survival guidance and reassurance over the phone, and to pass important information back to the crews about exactly where she was in the house.

She was advised to position herself at an open window in her bedroom to reduce the effects of the smoke.

On arrival there was smoke issuing from the property, smoke alarms could be heard sounding and the occupant was leaning out of the bedroom window.

Crews put up a ladder and carried her down, and she was then passed to the ambulance service and taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Simultaneously two crew members wearing breathing apparatus quickly entered the property with a hose reel to carry out a further search and fight the fire.

Other crew members used a fan to help ventilate the smoke from the property and improve visibility.

The fire started at the head of the stairs on the first-floor landing, and escalated to cause fire and heat damage to all first-floor rooms, the attic and stairwell down to the ground floor.

Early indications from the initial fire investigation are that the fire started in or around a bin on the landing, where a cigarette end had been discarded, igniting other combustible materials.

Station Commander Stuart Grosse, who attended the incident, added: ‘This incident highlights the benefits of smoke alarms and a quick rescue by crews at the scene, ably supported by the information being provided by the Control Room.

It also illustrates just how serious a fire caused by discarded cigarettes can be. We are urging anyone who smokes, or anyone who looks after someone who smokes, to follow some simple advice.

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