Firefighters are reminding people of the dangers of drinking and cooking after three people had a lucky escape when an unattended pan caught fire in Bognor Regis.
Crews from Chichester and Bognor were called to a first floor flat on Sturgess Road at 1.38am on Saturday morning (May 28) after a neighbour in the flat below was woken by his own smoke alarm.
The quick-acting neighbour then rescued one male before being beaten back by the smoke, while a female occupant managed to escape safely after initially trying to tackle the fire.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue crews were on the scene within minutes, and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the smoke-filled flat and found the third occupant asleep. They bought him out to fresh air and safety. The fire was quickly extinguished and the flat ventilated.
All the flat occupants were assessed by paramedics but did not need hospital treatment.
Green Watch manager Jon Etherington said: “We are very relieved that nobody has been hurt in this incident because it was potentially life-threatening.
“Cooking food late at night while tired or under the influence of alcohol is all too often a recipe for disaster. “If you’re hungry when you come in from a night out, choose something that doesn’t need to be cooked.
“This incident also highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms. Although the flat was fitted with smoke detectors, the batteries had been removed, leaving them unprotected.
“The actions of the brave neighbour, alerted by his own smoke alarm, may well have saved their lives, although we would urge people not to put themselves in danger by entering a property if they think it may be on fire - call 999 immediately.”
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free home fire safety checks - call 0800 3286487 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire to find out if you are eligible.