A COUPLE had to be rescued from their bedroom after their washing machine sparked a blaze.
Firefighters from Fulwell and Sunderland Central were called to their home in Roker Park Close a fire started in the kitchen while they slept.
They were awoken by smoke alarms after an electrical fault caused the washing machine, which they’d put on before going to bed, to set alight.
Heavy smoke meant the couple were trapped in their upstairs bedroom as the fire spread, at about 12.30am on Sunday night.
A next-door neighbour said: “The smoke alarms woke us too and we ran outside.
“We could see our neighbour sitting on the ledge of the bedroom window.
“We tried to keep them calm and told them to wait for the firecrews to get there.
“The fire brigade were brilliant, they were here in about three minutes.”
After being rescued, the couple were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.
Crew manager Alan Race from Fulwell Fire Station said the outcome could have been a lot worse had the couple not had working smoke alarms, and are urging Wearside residents to make sure they have them fitted in their homes.
He said: “There’s a safety message here, electrical faults like this don’t happen all the time, but they are not uncommon.
“People putting on washing machines should do so when they are in the house, during waking hours, so that any problem can be identified straight away.”
He added: “This incident goes to show that smoke alarms save lives. Anyone wanting to have a smoke alarm fitted can just ring their local station for a free one.”
Meanwhile, a fire ripped through a shed in Gregory Road, opposite Grindon Social Club, in Grindon.
The blaze destroyed the building at the back of the address and the roof of a car port at the house was ruined.
Two crews from North Moor fire station rushed to the scene to put out the fire.
A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire is now under investigation.
No-one was injured in the blaze, which happened at about 8.40pm on Sunday.