Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Woman escapes tumble dryer fire thanks to smoke alarm

A woman has thanked firefighters and given a warning to Essex residents after she had a lucky escape from a house fire. 

Amy Newstead was at her home in Rawreth, near Wickford, with Flossie her Pug, when she heard the sound of her smoke alarms. 

Knowing where her smoke alarms are, Amy realised it was coming from her utility cupboard and it was likely her tumble dryer was on fire. 

Amy said: “After quickly rushing to the room I saw all the smoke and opened the cupboard and I saw flames.”

“In that second I thought I need to get the dog out and call the fire service, I also went to the fuse box and turned everything off and waited outside so I could flag down the fire engine.”

When crews arrived there were still flames coming from the tumble dryer as well as a lot of smoke through the open plan bungalow. 

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and cleared the property of smoke. 

Watch Manager Wayne Davey, Rayleigh Weir Fire Station, said: 

“If Amy hadn’t been alerted to the fire when it first started the house could have been completely alight by the time she noticed it and we arrived. 

“By closing the cupboard door Amy also helped to limit the spread of the fire, which in turn limited the damage to the utility area.”

Amy has now been spreading the message that people need to install and test their smoke alarms. 

She added: "If that smoke alarm hadn’t gone off I would not have noticed that there was smoke, because it’s a room at the end of the house.

"We’re very conscious of what damage can be done with fire. Without the firefighters and my smoke alarm, the fire could have engulfed the whole house and it would have been a very different story, especially if the dog had been inside." 

Do you have working smoke alarms? Essex County Fire and Rescue Service recommends you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and that you test them regularly.  

For more information on how to book a home safety visit, details of how to get a free smoke alarm and get fire safety advice over the phone visit

Full details of this incident are on our incident page.

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Page last updated 9 April 2020

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