A SOLIHULL man - asleep when an oven full of chips caught fire in his kitchen - probably owes his life to an alert neighbour who smelled smoke and raised the alarm.
Firecrews from Solihull, Bickenhill and Hay Mills were called to a ground-floor apartment in Wharf Lane at about 5.40am on Wednesday. The door was forced open by firefighters because someone was reported to be inside.
Solihull-based crew commander Steve Wheeldon said a man in his 20s, living alone, “for some reason had an oven full of chips, which he had left cooking as he slept.
“The smoke detector had gone off and the apartment was heavily smoke-logged.
“We were alerted by the man’s neighbour, who was outside when we arrived.
“Two firefighters in breathing apparatus went in and got the man out, although at first he didn’t want to leave.”
CCdr Wheeldon said the resident was apparently unaware that the smoke alarm had activated.
“If the fire had caught debris on the kitchen floor, because of bad housekeeping it would have quickly spread and ‘gone like a train.’
“And if the man hadn’t woken up when he did, things could have been much worse because the smoke was quite acrid. He met us just inside the door.
“We had a chat with the man and gave him advice on good housekeeping and its relation to good fire safety.”