Man saved from Bognor flat fire after ‘falling asleep with pan on’

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A sleeping man was dramatically rescued from his burning Bognor flat early this morning.

Firefighters were called to the three-storey block of flats on Albert Rd at 1.41am on Friday, March 18.

The occupier of the ground floor flat, a man in his 40s who had been drinking, fell asleep leaving a pan burning on the hob, the fire service said.

Fortunately, the flat was fitted with working smoke detectors, which woke the occupier of a neighbouring flat who was able to raise the alarm.

A crew from Bognor Fire Station was on the scene within minutes of the 999 call being made, with additional fire engines from Bognor and Littlehampton arriving shortly afterwards.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the smoke-logged flat and discovered the occupier asleep in the living room.

They immediately brought him out to fresh air and extinguished the fire by removing the pan from the hob.

The occupier was given a precautionary check by paramedics but did not need hospital treatment.

Incident commander from Bognor Fire Station, Russell Moore, said “This man had an extremely lucky escape. Had it not been for the neighbour’s decisive action this would have had a much more serious outcome.

“We would always urge people to act if they hear a smoke alarm going off for any length of time in a neighbouring property. Don’t ignore it, call 999, you may just save a life.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is reminding people of the dangers of late night cooking.

Incident commander Moore said: “Cooking is by far the most common cause of house fire we attend. We’d ask people to leave their pans in the cupboard if they are very tired or have been drinking; just opt for something that doesn’t need to be cooked instead.

“Fortunately, the man’s flat was fitted with working smoke alarms. Although he wasn’t roused by them, his neighbour was and that made a life-saving difference in this incident.

“Smoke alarms save lives. It’s really that simple. If your home isn’t fitted with one, then please act now.”

To find out if you or someone you care for is eligible for a Home Safety Visit call 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

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