Smoke alarm could have saved man’s life after fire rips through his flat

Gavin Harman, 27, who saved the life of a neighbour stuck in his third storey flat which was on fire

Gavin Harman, 27, who saved the life of a neighbour stuck in his third storey flat which was on fire in Great Yarmouth, by keeping him calm and keeping him talking by the open window, seen in the background. With Gavin is his partner Staci Clark. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A man had a lucky escape thanks to a smoke alarm after a fire engulfed his flat.

The open window of the third storey flat which was on fire in Great Yarmouth, where Gavin Harman hel

The open window of the third storey flat which was on fire in Great Yarmouth, where Gavin Harman helped save the life of a neighbour by keeping him talking by the window. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Now, a senior fire chief has urged people to make sure they have a working device installed.

A blaze started in a top floor flat in Camperdown, near Great Yarmouth seafront on Sunday night at around 10.30pm.

It is believed the man was asleep and awoke to the sound of the smoke alarm and then realised he was trapped inside by the flames.

Group manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Richard Dromey, said without the smoke detector there could have been a very different outcome as it was a significant fire.

The third storey flat which was on fire in Camperdown, Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The third storey flat which was on fire in Camperdown, Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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He added: 'It was thanks to the early warning provided by the smoke alarm going off that we were able to get our crews there so quickly.

'It goes to show how vital having working smoke alarms is and I would urge everyone to make sure they have them installed in their homes and check they're working on a regular basis, it really could save your life.'

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The man, believed to be in his 40s, was taken to the James Paget Hospital after suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

He was helped by a neighbour who heard the smoke alarm from a neighbouring home.

Fire engines on Camperdown, Great Yarmouth, following fire. PIC: Ken Stretton.

Fire engines on Camperdown, Great Yarmouth, following fire. PIC: Ken Stretton. - Credit: Archant

Gavin Harman, 27, said he went outside and could hear a man shouting 'help, help' and saw a man stuck inside.

He called immediately called and shouted up to the man to stay near the window to breath the fresh air.

Mr Harman, who lives nearby in Wellington Road, added: 'We got him to stay there so we could see him and knew where he was.

'We told him the fire brigade were on their way and told him to stay as calm as possible as we could see he was panicking.

'We found out he didn't have his hearing aid in which made things harder.'

Mr Harman, who lives with his partner Staci Clarke, 27, and father Roy Hartley, 49, said it was the first time he had ever witnessed anything like it.

'It was instinct that kicked in. I knew I had to keep him as calm as possible.'

Another neighbour, who lives in the flat below the fire, said the fire hit flat was 'gutted' and his own home now smelt of smoke.

Three fire crews attended and helped the trapped man out of the building, and firefighters used hose reels to extinguish the blaze.

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