Woman called fire service to report blaze at Washington home - without realising it was at her own house

A concerned school worker raised the alarm about a fire at a Washington house – without knowing it was happening at her own home.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 17:33 pm

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 11.18am on Thursday to a report of a fire at a house on Marlborough Road, Washington, sending three crews to the scene.

Karen Downey lives at the property with her partner Derek Boyd and their daughters Britney, 19, and six-year-old April.

Karen, who works at Marlborough School, found out about the blaze there – but did not know it was her house when she raised the alarm with the fire service.

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Speaking to the Echo, she said: “One of the teachers said there was a fire in a house so I rang for them [the fire service], never for a moment thinking it was mine.

“Then one of the reception class mams came in and said I needed to come home.

“She did not think it was my house, she thought it was the next one up.”

Gary Carabine, watch manager for Washington Fire Station, spoke to the Echo at the scene and said that the fire began at the rear of the house before spreading inside and swiftly upstairs.

The fire broke out at the rear of the property

Crews were able to take action before it properly spread to the house next door.

Gary added: “In total, we had three appliances which is 12 of us. We also had a duty officer on scene.”

Paula Brown, 55, lives next door to the affected house, and thanked her lucky stars that the flames did not reach her property.

“This could have been a whole lot worse,” she said.

Joe Fisher helped tackle the blaze.

Joe Fisher, 24, Paula’s daughter’s boyfriend, was on the scene at the time and joined in with another neighbour to try and bring the fire under control.

The alarm was raised when the pair smelled smoke.

He said: “We just started chucking water at it to stop it spreading. We just did that for about five minutes and then the fire brigade turned up.”

No one was hurt in the blaze, and Northumbria Police has confirmed it is not being treated as suspicious.

Watch Manager for Washington Fire Station, Gary Carabine.
Fire crews attend the scene of a fire in Marlborough Road, Washington.