When 81 year old John Hammond sat down to enjoy his supper on Saturday August 1st he had no idea what was about to happen.
After frying an egg, he sat down in his living room and with the door closed happily watched the television. John told our Editor that due to his hearing not being what it used to, he has the sound quite loud and remembers hearing a 'pipping' noise but assumed it was on the TV. It was only when the noise continued that he realised it wasn't on the program he was watching and that it was in fact his smoke alarm.
John said 'I opened the door and I was met with a billow of smoke'.
John thought that he had turned the gas off but in fact he had turned it up. Flames had already engulfed the top of the cooker but bravely John was able to use a fire blanket he told us he had next to the cooker 'donkey's years' to cover the pan. Unbeknown to John two teenage girls who had been sat in the play park nearby had seen the smoke and already called for the fire brigade.
With the flat thick with black smoke and the fire not quite out John had to get out but his dog and best friend Tilly was nowhere to be found. John wasn't leaving without her and insisted on going back in. The girls bravely entered the flat with John and searched for her until she was found hiding in her cage in the living room and taken to safety.
John said that without a doubt, if he hadn't had the smoke alarm and a fire blanket, the damage would've been much worse and could even have spread to other flats in the block. Since the fire he has purchased a new fire blanket and also given them as gifts to the ladies who look after him daily.
'I would like to see the two girls who helped me, and their parents. All too often you hear bad things about teenagers but these girls deserve to be praised for what they did for me'
John was treated by the ambulance crew at the scene and did not need hospital treatment. Tilly is over her ordeal and didn't leave John's side throughout the interview. Let's hope this is the last ordeal for John and Tilly. A few years ago John was hit by a car on the zebra crossing in the village and seriously hurt whilst out walking Tilly and then only 3 weeks ago his flat was flooded by a burst pipe!
WVO has tried to contact the two girls involved but has not yet received any response.
Check your smoke alarm batteries regularly. Fire blankets are widely available and John highly recommends everyone to have one.