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Two escape fire at flat in Alderney

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AN ALDERNEY woman was flown to hospital in Guernsey by helicopter just after 6am yesterday, after a fire broke out at her home.

She was one of two people to get out of the three-bedroom flat in Newtown.

Alderney’s voluntary fire brigade was called at 1.20am yesterday. En route to the call-out from the fire station at Crabby, reports came in that smoke and flames were visible and a person was missing.

Two firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus to combat the thick smoke, went into the property, just behind the Harbour Lights Hotel, equipped with a high-pressure hose on a search-and-rescue mission.

While they were carrying out the search, one occupant managed to escape and was found safe and well outside.

She told the crew that there was another person inside the property.

A second team equipped with breathing apparatus then entered the building to search for the second person, but found no one. The other occupant was subsequently found safe and well in another property.

The first woman was taken to the Mignot Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and was later flown to Guernsey for further treatment.

The helicopter was despatched from the UK, as there is no overnight medevac service on Alderney.

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It is thought that a wood-burning stove might have contributed to an electrical fire.

Alderney Voluntary Fire Brigade chief officer Mark Gaudion said eight of the 10 volunteer firefighters went out to the blaze, which he described as challenging.

‘On arrival, we found flames immediately inside the front door and the building was totally smoke-logged,’ he said.

‘We got to work straight away, with two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and deploying a high pressure hose reel. A full search with a second breathing apparatus team ascertained that there was no one else in the building.

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‘On early investigation there was a small wood-burning stove in the corner of the living room, but adjacent to that, not too far away, was an electrical socket,’ said Mr Gaudion.

‘That seemed to be subject to quite some heat and then looks to have travelled along a coil of electrical cable to what could have been a stereo system and that looked to be where the seat of the fire actually was.

‘The flat was extensively smoke damaged throughout because all of the doors in the flat had been left open and it was totally blackened throughout and there was no form of smoke detection either.

‘We can’t stress enough how important it is to have some form of detection and the value of closing your doors when you go to bed at night.’

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