FIREFIGHTERS have issued a stark warning about the importance of smoke alarms after a fire destroyed the upstairs of a terraced house.
A mother and her three children in the home in Adair Road, Eastney, were only alerted to the blaze after next-door’s smoke alarm went off – as they had no working alarms in the house.
Now an investigation has begun into the fire, which started at about 10pm on Friday and has left the home unhabitable.
Just under 30 firefighters were involved in tackling the fire, which engulfed an upstairs bedroom at the back of the house. They fought to stop it spreading to neighbouring homes.
Crew manager Scott Yule, from Southsea fire station, said: ‘Smoke was issuing from the front of the property and the fire was raging out of the back window.
‘It was a well-vented fire.’
Fourteen firefighters put on breathing apparatus kits so they could go into the house to tackle the blaze.
Firefighters went through the front entrance to fight the fire and hoses also tackled it from outside at the back.
Mr Yule said: ‘The whole bedroom was on fire when we arrived.’
Five appliances, including crews from Cosham and Eastleigh, went to tackle the blaze and were there for two and a half hours.
Mr Yule said the property had been left ‘uninhabitable’ after being severely fire and smoke damaged.
The family have been provided accommodation by the Red Cross, whose staff were at the scene on Friday night to support them.
A neighbour watched the drama unfold and said smoke was pouring out of the front of the house.
She told The News: ‘I heard somebody saying “There’s a massive fire in the house”.
‘Then I saw four fire engines turn up. I saw some kids come running down the road. There were so many firefighters out there.’
Mr Yule said there was a key safety message. He said: ‘It highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms in a property. This property did not have any working smoke alarms. They were alerted to the problem by the next-door neighbour who had smoke coming through their property.’