Sunderland pensioner is saved by smoke alarm after microwave catches fire

An 86-year-old has thanked the fire crew and carers who came to her rescue when her microwave burst into flames.

Monday, 9th May 2016, 9:27 am
Updated Monday, 9th May 2016, 11:46 am
The microwave which was wrecked by fire.

Jean Hankinson accidentally left food unattended while it was cooking, causing it to catch fire.

She was helped from her Mill Hill home after her smoke alarm was set off and a warning system designed to protect vulnerable people was activated.

Tyne and Wear and Rescue Service's district manager for Sunderland Ian Cuskin.

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The incident, reported at the time by the Echo, happened at around 1.15pm on bank holiday Monday, May 2, after Mrs Hankinson was alerted by the alarm.

She activated a pendant which links her to the Telecare system.

This triggered a call to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s control room and two crews from Farringdon and a crew from Sunderland Central Community Fire Stations were sent to the house.

Mrs Hankinson was led to safety and given oxygen therapy.

Tyne and Wear and Rescue Service's district manager for Sunderland Ian Cuskin.

However, she did not require hospital treatment.

The fire was extinguished with a hose reel used by two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus.

The microwave oven was completely destroyed, the kitchen was severely damaged by smoke and the rest of the property suffered light smoke damage.

Mrs Hankinson said: “I’m so grateful to the fire service and the Telecare service for acting so quickly.

"I dread to think what might have happened if the smoke alarm hadn’t gone off and I didn’t have the pendant to raise the alarm.”

District manager for Sunderland Ian Cuskin, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This incident emphasises the importance of everyone having working smoke alarms in the home.

“Telecare also provides extra protection for the more vulnerable members of our community. It gives assurance to those people and their families that someone is constantly monitoring their environment and, if an emergency does occur, ensures a speedy response.”

Run by Sunderland Care and Support, Telecare provides a range of communication and safety equipment.

This includes a personal pendant device to enable customers to raise an alarm at the press of a button, as well as 24-hour monitored smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, all of which are linked to the Customer Service Centre in Sunderland.

Philip Foster, chief operating Officer from Sunderland Care and Support, said: “The Telecare service offers individuals, their families and carers security and peace of mind.

“By working in partnership with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service we are able to ensure that those most at risk of fire can live safely and independently in their own homes.”

To find out more about the Telecare service call (0191) 561 4435.

Information on fire safety is available at