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Two Die As Fire Safety Warnings Ignored

Fire officers are urging people to make sure they have smoke alarms that work after two bodies were found following separate house fires in Coventry.

The body of a 28-year-old man was discovered in a house in Blackshore Drive in Woodway Park at 11am yesterday after a landlord let himself into a house.

He found the badly burned body and traces of a fire, which had put itself out. The fire had been caused by a chip pan and the battery of a smoke alarm had been moved so the alarm was not working properly.

Later that day firefighters were called to a house in Allesley Old Road in Allesley after neighbours saw smoke coming out of the back of a house.

Firefighters had to break in to get to the fire and discovered the body of an elderly woman in the rear living room.

West Midlands Fire Service spokesman Ian McWilliam said the house was sealed by double glazing, and there had been a risk that the heat could have built up into an explosion once air was let into the house.

He said:

“It was a very severe fire that had died down to a certain degree. With opening the house up there was a risk of an explosion, but steps were taken to avoid that.”

He added that the lady had been well-cared for by professional carers and her family, but no-one had thought to install a smoke alarm.

He said:

“The implications are that the message about fire safety hasn’t got through to [professional people. The old lady was a smoker and there where signs in the house that fire was not taken as a risk.

“Somebody should have thought to install a smoke alarm. It could have given us five minutes more to get there, and that could have saved her

“A city shouldn’t lose two of its citizens in one day to fire. If they had smoke alarms working, both these people would be alive today.

“I urge everyone to make sure that their elderly relatives have got smoke alarms that work as it could save their lives.”

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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / 9 Jan 01
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