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Downlighter warning - kitchen lights spark rescue drama

Kent Fire & Rescue Service rescued a mother and daughter from the first floor of a burning building after a fire was sparked by kitchen lights
KFRS rescue a mother and daughter from a fire sparked by kitchen lights
A mother and daughter in danger of being overcome by smoke were rescued from a first floor window by Canterbury firefighters.

Red Watch were called to the city's Monks Close at 2.10am today (Friday) and saw the pair hanging from a bedroom window. Firefighters rescued them and then also carried out two Welsh border collies from the smoke-filled house. Two further puppies in the property's kitchen - the seat of the fire - perished despite being given oxygen and heart massage.

Watch manager Sheridan Hudson-Peacock said the cause of the fire was radiated heat from some kitchen lights: "Some clothes had been left on the kitchen worktop in close proximity to the under cupboard downlighters, which were left on overnight.

"Although they were low voltage lights, downlighters can give off enough heat to cause a fire so the message here is never to put anything too close to them.

"The property did not have smoke alarms and there's a fair chance that had they been fitted the puppies may have survived as there would have been an earlier warning that a fire had developed."

The rescue also highlights the good work of control operators who stayed on the line to the mother and her 15-year-old daughter while they waited for crews to arrive.

Red watch control operator Mark Stewart said: "They were very anxious about the puppies in the kitchen and wanted to go down and rescue them, but I persuaded them to stay upstairs, shut the door to the bedroom and hang out of the window so crews could easily see them. This meant that the crew could rescue the family quickly and then get to the pets."

Firefighters fitted smoke alarms at the property before leaving.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service offers free home safety visits. They take around 30 minutes and include tips on night-time routines, cooking safely with oil or fat, the dangers of smoking materials, care with candles, electrical safety and planning escape routes in the event of fire.

Free 10-year battery smoke alarms are also fitted where needed to give early warning of fire and help people escape.

For more advice on fire safety or to sign up for a free home safety visit contact Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on +44 (0) 800 923 7000 or visit

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