Couple and dog saved by neighbour after fire tears through Essex home

A couple and their dog were rescued through an upstairs window due to the fire
-Credit: (Image: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service)

A couple's lives were saved by an alert neighbour after a portable charge burst into flames in Basildon. Crews were called to a two-storey home in Basildon during the early hours of July 4 after the homeowners called 999 to report a large fire on the ground floor of their house.

They were woken up by smoke alarms and, as crews travelled to the house, a neighbour rescued the couple and their dog through an upstairs window by using a ladder. When crews arrived they reported that a fire, which had started in the conservatory, had spread through the open-plan living area.

Firefighters quickly began tackling the fire and extinguished it by 3am. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said the incident, on Bridgecote Lane in Laindon, "would have been a very different" story if it wasn't for the smoke alarm and neighbour.

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Watch manager Mark Blakebrough said: "We are confident this would have been a very different incident if it wasn't for the smoke alarms. The quick actions of the neighbours and the fact the occupants were woken by their smoke alarms saved their lives. There is no excuse not to make sure you have smoke alarms and regularly test them - it's a matter of life and death.

"Because of the amount of heat and smoke generated by the fire, the homeowners could not escape down the stairs because within minutes their exit route was blocked. This incident really does highlight the importance of talking about escape plans with your family as well as closing doors before going to bed."

The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental. It's thought it started when a charging power pack plugged in behind a sofa burst into flames. The house has been left with severe fire and smoke damage.

Blakebrough added: "We have so many things in our lives these days that need charging, but it's really important to do this when you're awake so you'll know much earlier if it does catch fire. Ideally, you should also try to charge items without leaving them on anything like soft furnishings that can overheat more quickly, and never leave anything charging in an escape route."