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Neighbour's quick thinking helps avert blaze tragedy
A QUICK-witted man helped to prevent a possible tragedy after a blaze broke out in a Bournemouth flat at the weekend.
Darren Northeast, 42, had returned from a night out in Bournemouth club Aruba when he heard the ringing of a smoke alarm in the Stourcliffe Avenue property in Southbourne at around 1.50am yesterday.
After investigating, he realised a neighbour’s flat had filled with smoke, and quickly called the emergency services.
Darren, who works in PR, said: “I had just come home from a night out, and I was sitting down for a minute before I went to bed.
“I could hear a noise, but because I’d been in Aruba, at first I thought it might just be the ringing in my ears from the loud music.
“But I realised something wasn’t right, and as I walked into the hallway it was a lot louder.”
In a dressing gown and bare feet, Darren went outside and looked through his neighbour’s window.
“I could see the flat was full of smoke,” he said.
“I went straight back in and dialled 999.”
Darren said around eight firefighters attended to put out the fire, which caused a moderate amount of damage to the flat.
“There was a lot of shouting going on,” he said.
“I was just lucky to hear the alarm.
“I don’t go out on a Saturday that much and everyone else was asleep.”
Two crews from Southbourne and Christchurch had to force their way into the flat to put out the fire, which started after cooking was left unattended in the oven. A woman living in the flat was also led to safety.
The next morning, a charred baking tray with oven chips on it was still lying outside of the property.
A spokesperson from Dorset Fire and Rescue said: “The consequences could have been much more serious had the neighbour not been alerted by the smoke alarm and dialled 999 for our assistance.”