We're lucky to be alive - family who watched home burn after fire alarm had no batteries (From Bournemouth Echo)
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We're lucky to be alive - family who watched home burn after fire alarm had no batteries
A FAMILY who watched their home burn on Sunday night say they are lucky to be alive.
Mum Clare Irish, 52, and her two daughters and son left their Wimborne home with just minutes to spare after the blaze in a ground-floor bedroom.
There were no batteries in the fire alarm, and the family said the blaze was “horrendous”.
Daughter Kate, 22, said: “My brother opened his bedroom door and the whole room was alight.
“A candle set the bed on fire and that caught the blind, and it just went up.”
Her sister Holly, 24, said the much of the flooring and furniture in the house was wooden, adding fuel to the flames.
“There’s smoke damage to all of the walls – it’s horrendous,” said Kate.
“But we’re so lucky it didn’t happen when we were sleeping. I don’t think we would have made it out.”
Two fire engines attended the scene in Ethelbert Road at around 6pm, and fire fighters discovered smoke pouring from the house before requesting back-up from Poole.
Red Cross volunteers manning the fire and emergency support service vehicle from Springbourne fire station were also sent to offer shelter and support to the occupants of the house.
The family, who have been renting the house since August last year, are now struggling to find somewhere to live.
“We just don’t know what to do,” said Clare.
“We stayed at a friend’s house last night but we’re waiting to hear from the estate agent about what the landlord’s insurance is like.”
Kate said: “We’ve had a lot of support, particularly from our neighbours.
“Everyone has been so nice to us. The people living nearby are so lovely, and they came out with hot drinks for us and made sure we were ok last night. But it’s a real shock and really upsetting.”
She said the fire has been a “big lesson learned.”
“There weren’t any batteries in the fire alarm at the time,” she said.
“I think you don’t always realise how important they are until something like this happens.”
A spokesman from Dorset Fire and Rescue said: “It is vital that batteries are installed, changed once a year and smoke alarms are tested once a week.”
He said the service's Test it Tuesday campaign was aimed at helping people remember to check their smoke alarms.
Dorset Fire and Rescue will be targeting the area, offering free home fire safety advice.
This story has been edited to remove the picture and video.