Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Carbon monoxide alarm alerts family to fire in middle of the night

Leeford, Chelmsford
06/11/2021 @ 01:44
Incident Number: 155882
In attendance: 2 x Chelmsford

A Chelmsford family has had a lucky escape after a carbon monoxide alarm alerted them to a fire that had potentially been smouldering for days. 

The family called 999 after their utility room's carbon monoxide alarm went off in the early hours of Saturday morning. Once awake the family went into the utility room and noticed white wispy smoke around the flume leading to the boiler. 

When crews arrived at the large detached house they began investigating the utility room and as they began cutting away the wall around the boiler the smoke became heavier. 

Watch Manager Gavin Ellis said:

"Our crews arrived very quickly to find the family outside their house - this was absolutely the right thing to do - if ever you discover a fire you should get out, stay out and call 999. 

"As firefighters cut away the flume and the wall around the boiler they discovered the stud work wall the boiler was attached to was severely burnt and alight.

"We believe the stud work wall had contained a slow smouldering fire that had been burning for potentially days without detection.

"We also discovered the fire had spread under the floor of the room above - this room was at the head of the first floor, so if it had been left to develop into a larger fire it could have trapped the family inside the property. 

"Without a doubt, this family and their home were saved by their working alarms. The carbon monoxide alarm woke them in the middle of the night, and they did the right thing by taking it seriously and investigating further and calling 999.

"If they hadn't had a carbon monoxide alarm the smoke alarm would have gone off soon after, but it really is best practice to have both types of alarm to give your family and home the greatest protection."

Crews confirmed the fire was completely extinguished by 3.15am and then revisited the property a few hours later to make sure all appeared safe and cool. 

Do you have working smoke alarms in your home?

Smoke alarms save lives. They can alert your family as well as your neighbours and passersby to a fire in your home if you're not in.

We recommend you have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you test them at least once a month.

If you or someone you know doesn’t have working smoke alarms at home, please get in touch. Visit or call 0300 303 0088.

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