Man, 90, rescued from Meir fire after trying to light fake coals
A 90-YEAR-OLD man is recovering in hospital after being rescued from a blaze at his home.
The fire, in Grangewood Road, Meir, started in the early hours of yesterday morning after the man, named locally as Joe Sandbrook, attempted to light the artificial coals on his electric fire.
Mr Sandbrook forgot the coals on the display were not real and attempted to light them using a piece of paper as a fuse.
Fire crews were called after smoke alarms went off and automatically alerted the lifeline facility installed in his home.
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Crews from Longton and Hanley were able to rescue Mr Sandbrook along with his pet Jack Russell and he was treated with oxygen.
Neighbour George Bell was on his way to bed when he saw a fire engine outside his home.
The 67-year-old said: “I was just heading upstairs when I saw a flashing blue light go past, I thought it was the police at first but when I realised it was the fire service I went outside to see what was going on.
“I could see Joe was outside, he was on the floor and was wearing an oxygen mask.
“He has a little Jack Russell dog as well and I think he was a bit scared. I just hope they are both OK.
“He’s had a lucky escape.”
Fifty eight-year-old neighbour Susan Wilshaw said: “I was still awake at one o’clock and heard some commotion outside. I went out and I could see Joe’s light on, there was no sign of their being any problems, but then I noticed black billowing smoke coming from the back of the house.
“You could still smell the smoke during the day yesterday. He’s a very confused old man, so I hope he recovers.
“He was taken to hospital so I am sure he was being well looked after.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a free home fire risk check at the property in July last year where assisted technology was fitted and linked to the smoke alarms.
Station manager Ian Housley said: “The man managed to ask for the fire service when his smoke alarms automatically alerted the lifeline facility installed in his home.
“It appears he forgot that he doesn’t have a coal fire and after feeling cold late last night, decided to light a fire, thinking the coals were real.
“We believe he lit some paper and put it on top of the plastic coals which eventually set fire to the display, causing heavy smoke.
“Luckily, the smoke alarms activated quickly and alerted lifeline and we were able to get to the man before the fire became too serious.
“There was a lot of smoke damage but thankfully the man was not affected too seriously and his pet dog was also safely removed from the house.”