Fire Service ask people to look out for neighbours after elderly woman died in house fire

Fire advice

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to check on their vulnerable neighbours, after an elderly woman, who did not have a working smoke alarm, died in her home when a fire broke out.

The fire service are asking people to be aware of the more vulnerable people in their neighbourhood, asking them to keep an eye out for the neighbours welfare – especially if they live alone.

Advice has been issued on how people can help their neighbours to stay safe in the event of a fire, after an elderly woman recently died when a fire broke out in her home near Glastonbury.

Group Commander Gavin Ellis explained: “We are very sorry that this tragedy has happened. We would remind everyone that it is of vital importance to remember to help those who are less able to help themselves and look for signs to indicate a neighbour may be in need of support.

 “On this occasion, due to the diligence of the local papergirl noticing that the lady’s paper had not being removed from the letter box from the day before, she raised the alarm, ensuring that the incident did not escalate and put others at risk.

“I would like to offer my condolences to anybody that has been affected by this incident.

“Due to the impact that tragedies like this have on local communities, fire crews from Glastonbury are in the area speaking to residents, giving advice on fire prevention and encouraging everyone to have a working smoke alarm.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following advice:

Toxic Smoke
Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can leave a person unconscious, so every second counts when escaping from a fire and a working smoke alarm in an emergency could make all the difference.

Our top tips are:
• Think about how your neighbours will all get out if they were to have a fire. Plan an escape route that works for them and think of any difficulties they may have or help they may need getting out. Would they benefit from a torch to light their way or a stair rail?
• Ensure at least one smoke alarm is on every level of their home so smoke can reach the alarms quicker giving your neighbour more warning time.
• Test smoke alarms regularly. Smoke alarms can save lives, but only if they work.
• Clear escape routes. Make sure everyone is able to escape without tripping over to ensure a speedy exit.
• Are their door and window keys in a known and accessible place for them? So they can get out quickly.

Home Fire Safety Visit
The importance that a home fire safety visit can make to a vulnerable person’s life is invaluable and not only from the fire safety aspect.

Make the call to request free Home Safety advice call free on: now 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit