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Fire crews save couple trapped in Denholme house blaze
11:31am Thursday 27th December 2012 in News
A couple were given survival advice over the phone as fire crews raced to rescue them from their burning home.
Edward and Susan Harrison stayed in their bedroom to avoid the choking smoke as a brigade control operator spoke to them.
The couple had been alerted to the blaze when a smoke alarm activated.
When they opened their bedroom door, they saw the living room was on fire and smoke was quickly filling the hallway.
Asthma sufferer Mr Harrison, 56, recently had a knee operation and was unable to climb out of the bedroom window – their only escape route.
His 54-year-old wife refused to leave his side.
“Neither me nor my wife could get to the front door because of the smoke and it was starting to come into the bedroom,” said Mr Harrison. “Because I have asthma, I had trouble breathing properly.”
Fortunately, the couple had closed the door to their living room, which helped contain the flames. Mr Harrison added: “The fire service gave us advice over the phone. They said to stay near the window to get some air until the firemen arrived.
“It was scary because of my asthma. My wife wasn’t going to leave me, but luckily it wasn’t long before they got here. I’d like to thank the fire service, they were great.”
When fire crews from Illingworth and Fairweather Green arrived at the property in Main Road, Denholme, they put out the flames, cleared the smoke and gave Mr Harrision oxygen.
The couple were taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary for precautionary checks.
The cause of the blaze, which broke out at about 9.30pm on Sunday, has not been determined.
Furniture and Christmas decorations were wrecked and the Christmas tree melted.
Illingworth Fire Station watch commander Craig Mallinson said the couple had done everything right and not panicked. He added that the smoke detector had helped save their lives.
“Hearing the smoke detector gave them and us valuable time to get them out safely,” he said. “They are living proof that smoke detectors save lives.”
The couple’s housing provider, Incommunities, said it had found them accommodation nearby while the damage was assessed and repairs carried out.