Havant pensioner whose freezer caught fire says: 'I wasn't worried - I've dealt with blazes on oil tankers'

Paul Miller in his kitchen with the fire-damaged freezer 'Picture: Richard Lemmer
Paul Miller in his kitchen with the fire-damaged freezer 'Picture: Richard Lemmer
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A FREEZER caught fire in the flat belonging to a retired oil tanker captain living in Havant this morning. 

Fire station crews were called at 3.44am after the faulty appliance caused a kitchen blaze in a flat at Compton Court in Chidham Close, Havant. 

The burnt-out freezer 'Picture: Richard Lemmer

The burnt-out freezer 'Picture: Richard Lemmer

 Paul Miller, 81, thought his smoke alarm had broken - but went to his kitchen to discover his freezer in flames.

He said: ‘I heard the alarm and I thought it was broken because I have had it for so long - I’ve had it for at least 15 years.

‘I went to the kitchen and there was a lot of fire and billowing black smoke.’

But the former oil tanker captain, who worked for Saudi Aramco for more than 15 years, wasn’t fazed by the sight.

The freezer'Picture: Richard Lemmer

The freezer'Picture: Richard Lemmer

He said: ‘I didn’t worry. I have dealt with ship fires before on tankers full of oil. 

‘So I wasn’t worried about this fire.’

READ MORE: Elderly man saved after freezer catches fire

Paul’s neighbour, Tony Harding, who lives in the flat above was woken by the alarm.

He said: ‘I helped him into my flat and called the fire brigade, who were here within five minutes.

‘The smoke afterwards was terrible - I took down a couple of fans to blow it all out.’

A British Red Cross team attended to Paul, who had a stroke two years ago, at the scene.

Paul said: ‘The staff said I did not need to go to the hospital and I did a breathing test.’

The contents of the flat is covered by insurance, but Paul’s son, Charles, said it was ‘pretty terrible’ that the insurers won’t cover the cost to dispose of the charred freezer.

The 28-year-old said: ‘That’s going to be a headache. I think they should cover the cost.

‘They haven’t even sent an assessor out - the photos don’t do justice to the damage.’