FIREFIGHTERS broke into a smoke-filled flat and rescued a sleeping householder – while a pan of food blazed on his hob.
Crews are now urging South Yorkshire residents to test their smoke alarms after detectors helped save the 29-year-old’s life.
The alarm was raised by the man’s neighbours who rang 999, after they heard alarms at the flat in Elizabeth Way, Masborough, on Saturday, at about 4.30am.
Two crews from Rotherham fire station raced to the scene and firefighters broke into the flat.
The man was led to safety and given a precautionary check-up by paramedics at the scene.
The flat was heavily smoke damaged and there was fire damage to the cooker.
Adam Longden, watch manager, said: “Our message is clear – if in doubt, call us out. This is another example of where having working smoke alarms in the home has potentially made the difference between life and death.
“The neighbours did the right thing by calling us and we hope this incident reminds residents to test their alarms regularly.”
Neighbour Martin Clarkson, 53, and his partner Matthew Thompson, 27, raised the alarm.
Martin, who works for Yorkshire Water, said: “The smoke alarms woke my partner and I and they kept sounding.
“At first, we were unsure whether to call the emergency services or not, but I’m so glad we did, as the firefighters on the scene told us just a few minutes could have made the difference in saving this man’s life.
“The crews arrived and demolished the door using a saw. They found what they thought was a body on the sofa, but when they tried to move him he woke up.
“He had put a pan of curry on and then crashed out on the sofa in front of the telly. He had a lucky escape. If we’d not heard the smoke alarms, who knows what might have happened.”
A South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue spokesman said the service had been to more than 100 house fires in the last three years where the alarm had either been removed or the battery was missing or flat, putting the safety of the residents at risk.
The service is running a Star-backed campaign to encourage residents to sign up for regular prompts which remind them to test their smoke alarms – see http://pressthebutton.co.uk