A grandfather who escaped a devastating blaze at his Sealand home says he owes his life to a smoke alarm.
A fire broke out at Chris Harris’s home in Green Lane Estate, Sealand, just before midnight when a tumble dryer went up in flames.
The 58-year-old grandfather-of-one was asleep upstairs when the blaze broke out in his kitchen after he switched his tumble dryer on before going to bed.
Today, Mr Harris has told how three smoke alarms and the quick response of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service “saved his bacon”.
He said: “I turned my tumble dryer on before going to bed as I’d just come back from a camping trip so was trying to catch up with my washing and it just caught fire.
“I was woken up by the smoke alarm and I was just in a complete panic – I suspected what it was and when I went downstairs I knew straight away it was the tumble dryer as the flames had completely taken hold of it.
“I went upstairs to get my keys and I tried to get the tumble dryer out the back door but I couldn’t get past the flames.
“I realised I needed help so I tried to ring the fire service on my land lines but they weren’t working and I was panicking so I got out the front door.”
The dad-of-two, who works as a weighbridge clerk near Mold, told how he and neighbours immediately raised the alarm to get families out of their homes.
He said: “My next door neighbour had already realised something was wrong and he rang the fire service and they were superb and got here within five minutes.
“I raised people on the other side including a young family with children.”
Mr Harris was treated with oxygen by firefighters and paramedics used a nebulizer and saline solution to help clear smoke from his lungs.
Thankfully, he was not seriously hurt.
He now wants to make sure other homeowners have working smoke alarms and is urging people not to leave electrical appliances on overnight or when they are not at home.
He said: “There are some really important lessons. The main being to make sure you have smoke alarms that work but also not using a tumble dryer when you’re out or asleep.
“I am just so glad I was woken up by the smoke alarm. If I didn’t have them I am sure that I would have been asphyxiated by the smoke – they really saved my bacon.”
Fortunately, Mr Harris had home insurance for his £90,000 home but he expects it to take months to bring the house up to a liveable condition.
He said: “The house is severely damaged and seems like a total write-off and is going to take months to fix up again.”
Mr Harris has also praised the kind actions of his neighbours who have gone out of their way to help him after the blaze completely gutted his home.
He said: “My neighbours have been so kind and I’ve had several come and check I’m okay and offer to help in any way that they can. I can’t thank them enough.”
Three fire engines attended the blaze, which caused 100% fire damage to the kitchen.
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the cause of the fire is thought to be a fault in the tumble dryer.
Jane Honey from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This incident clearly highlights the importance of smoke alarms and the dangers of running electrical items such as tumble dryers, washing machines and dishwashers at night.”
She is advising people not overload their dryers, to clean filters regularly and not set programmes for a long period.
Ms Honey added: “As we’ve seen last night, you should also never leave the tumble dryer on when you’re in bed or when you go out.”
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