Sunderland dad speaks of family's escape from vape battery kitchen blaze

A Sunderland dad has urged people to check their smoke alarms after his family escaped from a blaze in their home last night.

Robert Allan, wife Kirsty and children Jack and Lilly-Rose were in bed at their home in North View, South Hylton, when the alarm went off.

Robert Allan

Robert Allan

Two crews from Farringdon fire station tackled a fire in the kitchen.

The blaze is believed to have been caused by a charging vape battery.

"The alarm went off about midnight and I came downstairs," said Robert, 29.

"There was a bit of a haze in the hallway because the kitchen door was shut. I opened the door and the kitchen was just full of smoke."

The kitchen

The kitchen

Kirsty, 29, eight-year-old Jack, and Lilly-Rose, five, left the house immediately but Robert stayed inside to try to rescue the family's English bull terriers, Thor and Crystal, who were in the kitchen.

Thor was easy to locate but there was no sign of Crystal.

"He has to be kept in his crate overnight because he is a chewer - we can't leave him out," said Robert.

"I got him out but I couldn't see her - I thought she was a goner.

The family home

The family home

"I stayed in as long as I could. In the end, the fire brigade got her out - she was sitting in the living room window."

Robert is full of praise for the firefighters who tackled the blaze and the family has been overwhelmed with the way their neighbours have rallied round.

"The fire brigade were here within three or four minutes and they were straight in, straight out," he said.

"We couldn't fault them.

Damage to the ceiling of the kitchen

Damage to the ceiling of the kitchen

"The neighbours out the back actually drove round in their cars to give us a hand with the damage."

Robert is certain the smoke alarm saved the family's lives.

"All the damage you can see happened within the four or five minutes before the fire brigade get here," he said.

"If it had not been for the smoke alarm, we would have been toast.

"I'd urge anyone who doesn't have a smoke alarm to get one and check it often."

The seat of the fire

The seat of the fire

All that remains of the smoke alarm which saved the family's lives

All that remains of the smoke alarm which saved the family's lives