Woman rescued from Norwich flat fire

Fire chiefs have reiterated the life-saving importance of smoke alarms after an elderly woman was rescued from a flat fire near Norwich Cathedral.

The 80-year-old woman was watching television in her bedroom at a property in the Queen Elizabeth's Close sheltered housing complex, off St Martin-at-Palace Plain, when the fire broke out.

The fire started in the TV before spreading to her mattress and bedding, filling the room with acrid black smoke which left the flat with extensive smoke damage.

The fire, which happened just after 1.30pm yesterday, triggered an alarm which was linked to the complex's warden, who helped the woman from the property before the fire brigade arrived.

Two crews, one from Sprowston and one from Norwich, were on the scene within minutes.

The fire had taken hold but firefighters prevented it from spreading to neighbouring buildings.

An East of England Ambulance Service paramedic in the Norwich Critical Care Car attended the incident and the woman, who was thought to be suffering from smoke inhalation, was taken to hospital by ambulance for observation.

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Watch manager Richard McGonagle said the situation could have been far worse had it not been for the alarm system in place at the property.

He said: 'She had a fire in her bedroom which raised the alarm with the warden and the warden attended to her and escorted her from the premises.

'We always try to re-emphasise the message about smoke alarms, especially to senior citizens who are a high-risk group.'

In November, two elderly women died in a fire at their secluded cottage in Lower Road, Holme Hale, near Swaffham.

The women were in their late 80s and mid-90s and are believed to have been sisters.

Despite the best efforts of firefighters, they both died at the scene after a fire broke out in the roof of the property.