Hailsham woman’s lucky escape from caravan fire

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A WOMAN had a lucky escape from a static caravan after faulty electrics sparked a serious fire in Hailsham early this morning, September 12.

Four crews from Hailsham and Herstmonceux, as well as the Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) from Eastbourne, were sent to Lion House Caravan Park, Mill House Road, at 6.54am.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were on the scene until 10am making sure the fire was out and the static caravan made safe.

Crews praised the woman for vacating her home as soon as she discovered the fire, after a smoke alarm alerted her to the fire in her bedroom.

Incident Commander Paul Sundaram-Hardwicke said: “She woke up at the normal time to get a cup of tea and noticed the lights were unusually dim.

“She told us she had had an on-going problem with electrics in her home and had previously called in an electrician, who was unable to locate a problem at the time.

“However, this morning she heard the smoke alarm sounding in the bedroom and when she went to investigate the alarm fell on the floor.

“She was going to grab her possessions but thought better of it as burning material started to fall from the ceiling in the bedroom.”

IC Sundaram-Hardwicke said the woman did the right thing but escaping as quickly as possible.

He added: “It just goes to stress the importance of having a working smoke alarm as it alerted her to the fire and, particularly in a static home, fire can take hold and develop quite rapidly.

“Also, with a static home there is often only one way out and it’s imperative to get out and stay out as quickly as possible. I would like to remind people of the importance of having a ‘fire plan’ in place. If you have anything that is very dear to you then have them perhaps as part of your plan. Have them located somewhere where you can grab them quickly as you evacuate.

“The woman was extremely grateful to crews, who went back in to rescue her possessions of sentimental value.

“Thankfully, she suffered no injuries and hadn’t inhaled any smoke due to the working smoke alarm.

“If she’d been in there just a few more minutes she would have inhaled more smoke and would probably have needed medical attention. People are not aware of how quickly a fire can develop and the devastating effects of inhaling smoke.”

Firefighting conditions were also made increasingly difficult due to the strong winds this morning. Neighbouring residents were requested to close all windows and doors to prevent the smoke from entering their homes.

The ALP was requested to attend as the roof of the static caravan was made unstable by the high winds and there were concerns the corrugated roof could be blown off.

The ALP enabled firefighters to secure the roof from above, as opposed to underneath which can often result in falling debris dropping on them.

Members of the public are advised to contact a fully qualified electrician if any equipment appears faulty or lights flicker.

More information can be found on the Electrical Safety Council website - www.esc.org.uk