Man wakes to find bed on fire

A HOMEOWNER has spoken of the horrifying moment he woke up to find his bed alight after he fell asleep with a tea-light still burning.

Dave Gooderham

A HOMEOWNER has spoken of the horrifying moment he woke up to find his bed alight after he fell asleep with a tea-light still burning.

Fire chiefs have joined shocked Andy Baker in warning of the dangers of leaving candles unattended after the first floor of his terraced home in Great Cornard, near Sudbury, was engulfed by fire yesterday morning.

Mr Baker attempted to put out the blaze, which started when a tea-light fell on to his bed, but was forced back by the intensity of the fire.

He was yesterday left clearing up the debris to his smoke damaged bedroom.

“I was reading in bed when I fell asleep and left a tea-light on,” he told the EADT. “When I woke up, all I could see was fire - it was about eight inches from my face.

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“It was pretty scary and upsetting as you just don't expect that. I tried to put it out with a bucket of water but the smoke was just too much so I called the fire brigade and the firefighters were brilliant.

“I am just thankful that I am okay and that the property is not too badly damaged. It is only now that it has been put out that you start thinking about what could have happened.”

Mr Baker, who has lived at the property in Kempson Drive for almost 20 years, was asleep when the fire started at about 5am.

After the blaze proved too strong for him to tackle, crews from Sudbury attended the incident and brought the flames, which had spread across the first floor, under control. There was no damage to any neighbouring properties.

Assistant Divisional Office Ken Williamson, from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's community safety department, said: “This was an unfortunate accident but the man was very lucky that he woke up in time to see the problem and evacuate the house.

“We would always advise burning tea-lights to be placed in a suitable non-flammable holder and never put directly on plastic surfaces. They should never be left unattended and always put out before you go to sleep.

“We would also remind people of the importance of keeping smoke alarms maintained and working properly. They are not just an early warning - they are the only warning.”

Mr Williamson revealed the fire service could carry out home fire safety checks to ensure all possible safety measures had been taken. Anyone interested should contact the community safety department on 01473 260586.

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