Elderly man injured after attempt to tackle fire

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An elderly man had to be treated in hospital after attempting to tackle a blaze himself with buckets of water.

Crews from Lewes and Uckfield were sent to the property in East Hoathly when a fire, caused by a magnifying glass, which had been left on a windowsill, broke out on Sunday. The 999 call was made at 3.06pm and crews arrived within two minutes, eventually leaving at 4.39pm.

The couple were alerted by their smoke alarm and by the time firefighters arrived the man had managed to put the fire out in the first floor bedroom, but with serious repercussions. The couple both had to be treated for inhaling smoke at the scene.

Watch manager Ian Ritchie, who attended the incident, said: “The couple were downstairs and alerted by their smoke alarms, once again proving the value of fitting alarms – which, in this instance, potentially saved their lives.

“It was very close to becoming a fully involved room fire. Our advice in the event of a fire is always to close the door in the effected room, leave the building and call the fire service. The man put himself in a position of severe danger and was very lucky to escape.

“He put the fire out, but in the process he ended up becoming quite poorly and had to be kept in hospital overnight. By the time we got there the building was extremely smoke-logged.”

Lead Fire Investigation Officer, Mark Hobbs, has attended similar incidents and said: “Our advice to the public is to get out, stay out and call us out.

“Although East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is aware that there is a problem with both magnifying glasses and cosmetic mirrors, left on windowsills, being the cause of a fire we want to raise awareness of the problem.

“These incidents are more common at this time of the year, when the sun is low in the sky and streams in through the window. We would urge homeowners to move these items away from direct sunlight.”