The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service praised a group of brave teenagers after their quick thinking helped save an elderly woman from a kitchen fire in Seaview yesterday evening (Wednesday).
The group of five friends, who had traveled to the Isle of Wight from Farnham earlier this week to visit a relative, had gone out for dinner and a walk along the beach on the last evening of their trip to take in the scenery. What they hadn’t expected to come across amongst the sea, sun, and sandy beaches was what could have turned out to be a tragic incident.
Sacha Hewson, Mark Meyer, Izzy Meade, Matt Pritchard, and Elliott Brown – all between the ages of 16 and 18 – had left Seagrove Bay around 21:30 and taken a leisurely stroll back to their grandmothers via Gully Road and Solent View Road. Their evening took an unexpected turn when they arrived at the intersection of Rowantree Drive and Caws Avenue.
When an eagle-eyed member of the group noticed smoke beginning to wisp from the front door of a 97-year-old woman’s home, they came to a halt. The teenagers realized right away that something was wrong and that they needed to take action.
After banging on the front door of the detached bungalow, several members of the group entered and began shouting to alert and locate anyone inside the property. They quickly located an elderly woman who appeared to be unaware of the unfolding incident in her kitchen.
Sascha Hewson, a member of the group, told Island Echo:
“We were walking back from the beach when we noticed smoke filtering through the front door of the lady’s house. We went into her house and began calling out to anyone inside to alert them to what was going on. We found the lady, who is very hard of hearing, and she was completely unaware of the fire alarm and the smoke, and she had no idea what was going on.”
Meanwhile, Mark Meyer sought out the source of the rapidly spreading smoke in the kitchen, which he discovered to be a microwave.
Knowing the dangers of putting water on an electrical fire, Mark quickly unplugged the appliance before opening it and dousing the smoldering heat pack inside with water from a nearby kettle before removing the microwave from the property.
The teens then opened windows and doors to let the smoke out, while others used an address book to try to contact the woman’s relatives, who were in a state of confusion. They eventually got through to a relative, who arrived on the scene shortly after.
Izzy Meade made the decision to call an ambulance after realizing the woman could be in shock and suffering from smoke inhalation. The Isle of Wight Ambulance Service dispatched a paramedic crew to the scene, and the control room then contacted the Fire Service. Soon after, a Ryde fire engine was dispatched to the scene.
The woman was taken to St Mary’s Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation but has since been released with no injuries.
Firefighters were called to the scene at 22:47 and returned this morning (Thursday) to conduct a safe and well check to ensure the woman’s continued safety.
Jeff Walls, Group Manager at HIWFRS, stated:
“The quick response of members of the public prevented this incident from becoming more serious.
“While we would caution the public against putting themselves in danger, quick thinking on this occasion prevented the fire from spreading, allowing the occupant to evacuate and escape conditions that could have deteriorated and become difficult for crews.”
Originally Published on islandechouk