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Smoke alarms help save Barmouth residents from washing machine fire


Smoke alarms fitted by firefighters have enabled the successful rescue of seven residents from a severe fire in a flat in Barmouth.

The alarms alerted the occupants and provided enough time for them to be able to call the fire and rescue service for help after an electrical fire trapped them inside their home.  

Crews from Barmouth, Dolgellau and Harlech were called to the flat above commercial premises on the High Street at 19.39hrs last night, Thursday February 7.

The female caller reported that she, her partner, her brother, and four children aged 17, six, five and two, were all trapped inside the property as the fire blocked their escape route.

The fire is thought to have started in a washing machine in a utility area which the occupants were unable to pass in order to make their exit from the flat.

The caller was given fire survival advice over the telephone by a control operator - her partner closed doors and placed towels at the bottom of the door to the room they were in to help hold back the smoke, before all seven occupants were safely rescued by firefighters through a first floor window.

Those rescued were checked over by paramedics at a local ambulance station - all were unhurt but obviously shaken up.

Crews used breathing apparatus, high pressure hose reels, a main jet and a thermal imaging camera to tackle the fire which is thought to have originated in the utility hallway area.

Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager said: "I cannot emphasise strongly enough how vital these working smoke alarms were in saving the lives of these seven people, including four children.

"This incident really does demonstrate the life saving properties of smoke alarms - had the alarms not alerted the occupants to the fire, we could have had the unthinkable and devastating prospect of a multiple fatality fire.

"The caller did well to remain calm and follow the fire survival advice given over the telephone by our control staff - all while fire crews made their way to the property and she and the six others were trapped inside with the fire blocking their escape route.

"Crews arrived at the scene quickly and used a ladder to assist them to safety. The fire was prevented from spreading by crews wearing breathing apparatus and with fire fighting jets.

"The outcome could have been so very different but thankfully the property had smoke alarms fitted as part of the free home fire safety check offered by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

"This service covers all aspects of home fire safety including the provision and placing of smoke alarms, the importance of having a clear escape route from your home, electrical safety and night time routines.

"To find out more about fire safety and have free smoke alarms fitted in your home, register for a free home fire safety check by visiting  or call our 24 hour hotline free on 0800 169 1234.

"I would urge people to take this up as it really could save your life and the lives of your loved ones."

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