Ex-PC praised as actions averted a family tragedy in Wrexham

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

A former policeman has been praised for his actions after a fire broke out at the family home.

George Hughes, 45, said he feels lucky to be alive after a fire tore through a spare bedroom in the family home he shares with wife Andrea, 44, and their 20-year-old daughter Madeline.

Madeline was asleep when the fire broke out in the bedroom next to hers at the home on Pentre Fron Road in Coedpoeth at about midnight on Tuesday.

George and Andrea were downstairs at the time and the smoke alarm alerted them to the fire.

George, who worked as a police officer for the Metropolitan Police in London and retired following injuries received in the Broadwater riots in 1985, said: “I went upstairs and it was just your worst nightmare, all I could see was thick black billowing smoke.

“I could see the red flickering through the door and could feel the heat.”

George made a quick decision to leave the door closed, get his family out of the house and to call 999.

Three fire engines rushed to the blaze and tackled the fire which was contained to the airing cupboard and was thought to have been caused by an electrical fault.

The family estimate that the fire caused £10,000 worth of damage to the bedroom.

Firefighters praised George for not attempting to tackle the fire by opening the door.

George said: “If I had opened that door it would have got me straight in the face.

“They said that the fire would have spread throughout the whole top part of the house too so we feel lucky it didn’t.

“I didn’t open the door because I’ve seen the adverts on TV which warn you about fire safety.

“It also makes you realise how important smoke alarms are – people die for the price of a battery not being replaced.”

Andrea said the family were shaken by the fire but were thankful to be safe and well.

She added that the family were unsure how the electrical fault had happened.

Wayne Monslow, a firefighter who was in charge of the incident, said: “The occupants had working smoke alarms which alerted them of the fire and did the right thing by closing the door on the fire and evacuating the property.

“By closing the door the fire damage has been restricted to the room of origin and everyone managed to escape without any injuries.”

See full story in the Leader

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