Schoolgirl, 13, praised in house blaze drama

First published in News

A SCHOOLGIRL has been praised by firefighters for calmly giving information to a 999 operator as she escaped from a house blaze with her grandmother and two brothers.

A smoke alarm alerted Emily Kearns, aged 13, to the fire in Morris Green in the early hours of yesterday.

The blaze broke out while Emily and her two brothers Daniel, aged 16 and Robert, aged 11, were staying overnight with their grandmother, Barbara Brindle, aged 80, at her house in Sapling Road.

Emily, a pupil at St James’ CE High School, Farnworth, said: “I was watching television in bed and heard a sound.

“At first I thought the noise was part of the film, but I looked down the stairs and saw smoke.”

Her shouts alerted Daniel, who rescued Mrs Brindle’s dog, Max, from the kitchen, while Emily alerted Robert and her grandmother and called the fire brigade.

Emily and Daniel, who also attends St James’s School, remembered what they had learned in special fire safety assemblies by crouching down and covering their mouths to make their way safely out of the house.

Emily said: “My hands would not stop shaking when I was on the phone.

“I had just got off the phone and the fire brigade were here.”

Mrs Brindle said: “If it was not for the smoke alarms, then we would not have known about the fire. The firefighters have fitted more smoke alarms, and they were so helpful and polite. I cannot praise them enough.”

Emily added: “I would say to anyone who has not got smoke alarms to have them fitted, it is stupid not to have them.

“The kitchen is badly damaged but the rest of the house is okay, and everything that is damaged can be replaced.”

The family were taken in by a neighbour while fire crews tackled the fire after being called shortly after 1am.

The fire is thought to have started in a toaster which spread to the fridge.

Bolton Central watch manager Ian Ainsworth said: “Emily was obviously quite agitated because of the circumstances but she stayed calm to give the information.

“She did a good job and was praised by the control operator.

“Had there not been a smoke alarm, the incident could have been a lot worse.

“The fire could have progressed and the family might not have been able to get downstairs.”

Firefighters were due to visit the estate again last night to carry out home safety checks, which includes fitting smoke alarms in other properties

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