FIRE chiefs have reiterated the message about having an escape plan for emergencies following a flat blaze in Poole on Thursday.

The alarm was raised at Sterte Court, on Sterte Close, at around 3am with reports of the blaze on the fifth floor of a nine-storey building, involving one person who reported being unable to escape the flat.

Crews from Poole, Hamworthy and Westbourne attended the scene, along with an aerial platform ladder, the Command Support Unit and the Red Cross Fire Emergency Support Vehicle.

The occupier of the flat, Martin Stevens, has praised the advice he was given by staff from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service during a home safety check for saving his life during the incident.

He said: “The smoke detector went off and I knew that I had to get out. I had closed the lounge door, as I had been advised to do when the fire service visited my home. I think that, had I left the door open, I would have lost my life.

“Having the detector fitted and an escape plan to work to made all the difference.”

Dave Cooper, Incident Commander, said: “The occupier was alerted to a serious fire in the lounge by his smoke alarm. He had a fire plan in place, which at night meant that he closed the lounge and kitchen doors when he went to bed.

“The plan ensured that the fire was confined to the lounge and allowed him to escape this serious fire unharmed, and he raised the alarm to alert others.”

One man was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and all occupants were quickly accounted for. The cause of the fire was believed to be a carelessly discarded smoking materials, but is still under investigation.

Home safety checks are a free service provided by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, which include advice on the use of electrics, escape plans, and fitting a smoke alarm.

For more information, go to or call 01305 252600.