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Elderly Lincoln man saved from fire by new device

An elderly Lincoln resident is recounting a close call after new technology in his sheltered accommodation saved him from a fire.

On March 24, 2014, Tom Baker (69), who lives at De Wint Court, was smoking in his room in an armchair when he fell asleep and dropped the cigarette.

A fire broke out, but before it could spread a machine that has been fitted by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue extinguished the blaze.

The ‘misting system’, which is being trialled by firefighters across the county, had been installed after a previous incident at the accommodation.

The device is one of four in Lincolnshire and firefighters are working with district councils to encourage them to fund more machines for vulnerable residents.

The machine works by detecting the signal from the smoke alarm and releasing 110 litres of water as a mist, putting out any blaze.

Mr Baker, described the event: “There was lots of foam in my room when I woke up, it was wet through. When we all realised what had happened, everyone here was just relieved that I was ok.

“I am really grateful to the fire service for this machine, I might not have been here today without it.”

Currently, qualifying recipients have been identified as most at risk. Anyone feeling they could benefit from a home fire safety check can book one by visiting the website, calling 01522 580397 or email HFSC@lincoln.fire-uk.org.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue are also spotlighting the incident in order to remind people of the dangers of smoking in the home.

Karl Turrill, Deputy Community Fire Safety Manager for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “In the last three years, we have attended 81 smoking related incidents in the county.

“Twenty per cent of these have been in the homes of elderly and vulnerable residents.

“We have a responsibility to protect these people and preventing a fire in the first place plays a big part.

“We installed this equipment in Tom’s home to protect him and his neighbours, and it has turned out to be a lifesaving decision.

“As well as saving lives, this machine represents good value for money – it costs us about £2,000 to install one and potentially saves much more.”