Fire terror kids saved by a call

TWO terrified children were given fire survival advice over the phone as a blaze took hold in their South Yorkshire home.

A little girl, aged around seven, and her older brother, aged around 14, were given step-by-step help by a call handler at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service control room.

Their heavily-pregnant and frantic aunt was downstairs but could not reach the children upstairs because of smoke.

There were no smoke alarms fitted in the terraced house.

Fire broke out at the property on Ferham Road, near Masbrough, Rotherham, at around midnight on Friday.

The blaze started as the young boy smoked a cigarette secretly in bed. His bedding caught fire accidentally and flames spread to the mattress, causing smoke to fill the second bedroom on the first floor.

The children shouted for help from their aunt, who was babysitting her niece and nephew and who had fallen asleep on the sofa downstairs.

But in the resulting panic she was unable to get upstairs to reach the children, and they were too scared to come downstairs on their own.

In the end they were coaxed to safety over the phone by an emergency call handler.

Crew manager Mark Homes, from Darnall fire station, who attended the blaze, said smoke alarm plates had been fitted to the ceilings of the house, but the alarms themselves were missing.

“This fire had the potential to be fatal,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse. They had the back plates of smoke alarms screwed into the ceilings but no smoke alarms.”

He praised the work of his control room colleagues who had helped the children to safety.

“They gave the children fire survival advice over the telephone while we were on our way.

“When the call came through everyone in the house was in quite a panic. They calmed the children down and gave them advice on getting downstairs and out of the house.

“By the time we arrived everyone was safely out of the building.”

Fire damage was confined to the mattress and flames had not spread

Firefighters were planning to return to the address over the weekend to fit smoke alarms free of charge and give out fire safety advice.