Pensioner praised after shower fire

The charred bathroom in Fleetwood.
The charred bathroom in Fleetwood.
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A quick-thinking pensioner has been praised by firefighters who said her actions stopped a fire causing devastating damage to her home.

Jean Leach, 73, who lives in Elsinore Close in Fleetwood, escaped serious injury by just seconds when a fire broke out in her shower unit.

Today, as a spokesman for the fire service said she was lucky not to have been hurt, she told how she was in the shower when she heard a loud bang “like a firework” and a fire sparked because of a suspected electrical fault.

As flames shot out of the shower unit, she immediately left the room and closed the bathroom door, which fire chiefs said ensured the incident was contained and did not spread to the rest of her home.

She said: “I had finished my shower and was turning it off when I heard an explosion that sounded like a firework going off.

“I then saw flames coming out of the unit and going up to the ceiling. I had to use my grab rail and walking frame to get out of the bathroom. I then shut the bathroom door and thought of the draft and the fire spreading.”

The pensioner, who lives in a block of flats monitored by wardens, was quickly helped out of the building after she raised the alarm at just after 9.30am on Friday.

She suffered no injuries and the fire was quickly extinguished by two fire crews.

Les Munday, fire team safety leader, based in Fleetwood, praised the woman’s response in slamming shut the bathroom door, adding: “The actions of the woman saved what is a very serious fire from spreading out into the remainder of her apartment.

“The pictures show very graphically what a fantastic job a closed door will do to prevent the spread of a fire.

“This gives valuable time for residents to escape from the property and helps keep escape routes clear of smoke and fumes. This is why we tell people to keep doors shut when they are asleep.”

The Red Cross Fire and Emergency Victim Support Service also attended to help the pensioner recover – and have helped her find temporary accommodation.

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