Alarm ‘saved lives’ of young Eastbourne family in blaze

The scene of the fire
The scene of the fire

A MOTHER and her two small children escaped a blaze at their Hampden Park home on Thursday night.

Fire ripped through the house in Percival Road at around 10.45pm and 27-year-old Tania Welch along with her six-year-old daughter Lydia Arnold and 14 month old baby girl Tayla Welch managed to escape unhurt.

Fire brigade officials say it was a working smoke alarm which saved the lives of the family.

The fire alarm alerted Tania who then ran to wake her children up and managed to carry them to safety out of the back of the house.

Police and emergency services were called to the rented property in Percival Road after a 999 call. Three fire crews from Eastbourne and Pevensey attended and were there until midnight tackling the blaze.

The family was upstairs at the time of the fire, which had broken out in the lounge of the terraced house.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the house fire but there was substantial smoke and fire damage to the property and the woman and her children are now staying with relatives.

It is not yet known what caused the fire and Detective Sergeant Ross Bartlett from Eastbourne CID is investigating.

He said, “Fortunately the woman and her two young children were alerted to the fire by the smoke alarm and managed to escape.

“We are working with our colleagues at East Sussex Fire and Rescue to establish the cause of the fire.

“We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident and who may have witnessed any suspicious activity.

“Please call 0845 60 70 999, quoting serial 1805 of September 22, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Eastbourne’s fire borough Commander Julie Gilbert-King said, “A working smoke alarm at the top of the stairs was activated, which woke the mother and gave her time to wake her two children and escape via the rear of the house.

“Crews were faced with a severe fire and worked exceptionally hard, wearing breathing apparatus and fighting the fire with hose reel jets.

“Fortunately, the owner of the house had a smoke alarm fitted, which she had obviously kept in good working order.

“In my opinion, if there had not been a working smoke alarm in that property we would almost certainly be looking at a very serious incident.”

The fire chief said she wanted to remind people to check their smoke alarms.

“They should be checked on a weekly basis and people should never be tempted to remove the batteries, even for a short period of time.

“This is probably a good opportunity to remind people to stock up now on batteries in time for Christmas.”