Sheffield mum who ‘lost everything’ issues urgent warning after fire rips through home

A Sheffield mum who lost everything in a house fire has appealed to residents of the city to sign up to a free smoke alarm scheme.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 2:33 pm

Rachael Shaw, her partner and daughter were in bed one night in April when working smoke alarms alerted them to an electrical fire in the living room below.

The fire had developed quickly and thick smoke prevented them from escaping – meaning they had to be rescued from a bedroom window by firefighting crews.

Rachel said: “If the smoke alarm at the bottom of the stairs wasn’t there we would have proceeded to think the smell was a garden fire.

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Thankfully Rachael, Dejaun and Olivia managed to escape the fire at the property in Parson Cross

"The scariest thing is my daughter’s room at the top of the stairs because you can see her bedding was black from the soot.

"She was laid on that bed. Luckily we heard the smoke alarm and smelled the smoke and luckily she got out.”

Speaking of the service’s new campaign, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, fire officers say they’re hoping they can motivate people to ensure they have alarms in place that are regularly tested.

Latest figures released by SYFR show that out of the 486 accidental dwelling fires crews dealt with last year, 102 of the homes attended didn’t have any smoke alarms.

Rachael Shaw, a mum from Sheffield who had her home in Parsons Cross destroyed by fire earlier this year.

In the 384 cases where smoke alarms were present, not all of them sounded – either due to them not working or not being positioned correctly.

This makes 238 instances in 2019 where smoke alarms either weren’t present or didn’t sound.

“We’ve spent over a decade now asking people to ensure they have working smoke alarms, and test them regularly,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the police and fire community safety team.

“Our ask is really clear – we want people to ensure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home. Then, we want them to make a habit of testing them weekly.

Rachael Shaw is unable to live in the property in Parson Cross due to the fire damage

“The incident involving Rachael and her family is a really clear example of how important smoke alarms can be – get them, fit them, test them.”

You can sign up to the service’s free reminder service at and can book a free home safety visit at