Belfast Telegraph

Firefighter's timely visit that ended up saving a life

By Angela Rainey

An off-duty firefighter replaced the batteries in a fire alarm that saved a 77-year-old Co Down woman from a blaze just a week before it happened.

The elderly woman from Cherry Hill, Rostrevor, escaped unharmed after her smoke alarm alerted her to the fire just after 5am yesterday.

She had been in bed when she woke to see the flames just begin to catch, but immediately activated a personal alarm pendant to call for help.

A care attendant then rang to see if she was OK and on hearing the smoke alarm called 999.

Only a week ago the pensioner had been visited by an off-duty firefighter from Warrenpoint Fire Station, who replaced the batteries in her smoke alarm and offered advice on what to do in the event of a fire.

Rory Dumigan, station commander at Southern Headquarters safety department, said: "The fact that this officer happened to be in the lady's home and replaced her smoke alarm battery undoubtedly contributed to saving her life.

"Due to a lack of mobility, he advised the woman that in case of a fire she should roll off the bed and on to the floor and stay beneath the level of rising smoke, and that is what she did.

"Thankfully, she also had a personal alarm and was able to call for help very quickly.

"This could so easily have been a different story."

Mr Dumigan said that more people should be conscious of checking their smoke alarms, especially at a time when most houses are decorated with light and more flammable items.

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