A HOMEOWNER had a lucky escape after fire erupted in her bathroom – almost destroying her flat.
The blaze ignited in a tumble dryer that had been stored in a bathroom on the first floor of a property in Homer Close, Rowner.
Firefighters say the machine had been stored inside a home-made cupboard, covered with towels, when the fire sparked.
The inferno left her bathroom black and charred, with the intense heat from the flames melting plastic window fittings.
The terrified homeowner, a woman aged 51, was alerted to the fire by her smoke alarm at about 2.04pm.
She rushed upstairs to see smoke pouring out of her bathroom. Shaken, she braved the smoke and close the door to her bathroom before fleeing her home with her pet cat and dog.
Watch manager Rob Dellow, of Gosport fire station, said her quick-thinking actions saved her home from being severely damaged.
He said: ‘She was very, very lucky. She was clearly very distressed and in quite an agitated state of mind.
‘The lady had been downstairs at the time of the incident. The smoke alarm went off. She went upstairs to investigate the sound of the alarm.
‘She realised very quickly that there was smoke coming out of the tumble dryer. She shut the bathroom door and ran out the house.
‘As a result of her actions she limited the damage to the flat to one room.
‘It was quite a serious fire by the time I got there. It would have been her the whole of her first floor that would have been like that if she hadn’t shut the door.’
Three fire crews, two from Gosport and one from Fareham, were dispatched to the incident.
Officers used two breathing apparatus, a hose reel and a fan to remove the smoke.
They also treated the woman for smoke inhalation, calling South Central Ambulance Services for assistance. She wasn’t taken to hospital.
The cause of the fire is ‘impossible to tell’, watch manager Dellow said. However, he suspected a combination of poor ventilation and a lack of regular maintenance could have been the cause.
As well as urging people to make sure their tumble dryers are stored in a well ventilated area, watch manager Dellow added: ‘Although the woman’s actions helped, we can’t recommend people to go towards the sound of a smoke alarm.
‘As soon as you hear that alarm you should get outside and call the fire service.’
Firefighters left at 2.48pm.
Nobody else was injured during the incident.